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A business consultancy, based in London, England, John Sacks' JSA Consultancy Services provides expert, in-depth, information advice and guidance as to how to exploit successfully the office furniture and interiors markets in Europe, North America, Australasia and Japan.

US Office Furniture Industry Braces for Challenging Year

Thursday 4 March 2010

The Business and Institutional Furniture Manufacturers Association (BIFMA) International recently released the latest quarterly forecast
published by the economic consulting firm Global Insight. Worse-than-anticipated
economic data for the fourth quarter of 2008 contributed to a more pessimistic
outlook for US office furniture consumption and shipments. The latest forecast predicts 2009 office furniture shipments will contract 19% as compared to 2008 volumes.
Orders are expected to decline 25%.
President Obama has inherited an economy contracting more sharply than at any
time since the winter of 1981– 82. Rather than looking forward to a full recovery,
consumers and businesses alike are searching for signs of moderation in the pace
of the current slowdown. Office furniture consumption during the fourth quarter of
2008 dropped 7.3% compared to the same period in 2007, while shipments fell
6.7%. The decline in consumption was more than double previous expectations, and
the decline in shipments came in 1.9% lower than previous expectations.
As 2009 and 2010 approach, there is little good news. Businesses will continue to be
hampered by falling profits and consumers by falling employment. Real GDP fell
3.8% in the fourth quarter of 2008, and further steep declines are expected in the
first half of 2009. The commercial and office sectors will be stalled by restricted
credit and waning demand. As downturns in these sectors arrived late, their
recoveries will also lag behind the general economy\'s recovery by several quarters.
Given the grim outlook, office furniture demand is expected to decline on a year-on-year basis throughout 2009 and begin to climb again during the second half of 2010.

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