Mixed results for last year's forecast
Furniture Today Staff -- Furniture Today, January 18, 2011
HIGH POINT — Last year's Furniture/Today consensus economic forecast correctly called for modest growth in the industry in 2010 but was slightly optimistic.
We had predicted a 3.7% gain in furniture and bedding sales at retail, while the actual growth is only estimated at 2.9%.
The forecast also was way too rosy regarding the U.S. housing recovery, which didn't materialize in 2010 as foreclosures mounted and sinking home values left more mortgages underwater. We had expected housing starts of 730,000 but the actual number was an estimated 592,000, and new home sales of 510,000, when the country really only mustered about 324,000.
A year ago, the National Assn. of Realtors was projecting 2010 existing home sales at 5.7 million. But the actual number only reached an estimated 4.3 million.
Regarding the broader economy, last year's consensus forecast was closer to the mark. It called for real gross domestic product growth of 2.5%, just under the 2.7% that is the latest estimate for the year. It pegged the unemployment rate at 10%, pretty close to the actual average for the year of 9.7%.