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Quarterly index shows 'modest' improvement for US office furniture industry

Monday 3 May 2010

The office furniture industry posted “modest” improvements during the first quarter, as activity in a number of areas increased, according to a quarterly index.

The overall index from Michael A. Dunlap & Associates registered 51.51 in April, compared to 50.64 in January and 51.45 in October 2009.

“After office furniture makers posted the worst one-year downturn ever in 2009, the result of the quarterly survey affirms a recovery is ahead”, Michael Dunlap said.

“I think that there are enough strong indicators in the April survey that demonstrate that the worst is behind us and that we are finally seeing some solid signs of recovery,” Dunlap said. “However, I think it will take at least another 12 to 15 months to come out of this recession with any significant growth.”

Dunlap’s index is based on the results of surveys with executives at office furniture makers and suppliers on activity in 10 areas during the most recent quarter.

The personal outlook among executives improved to 53.39, the first time since October 2008 it was above 50.0. Dunlap called the improvement “encouraging.”

Indexes for capital and tooling expenditures “improved significantly,” Dunlap said, and new product development “soared” to 65.71. The index for order backlog increased as well.

On the downside, indexes for gross shipments and hours worked declined, while the employment index remained steady.

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