05 January 2009 16:40 [Source: ICIS news]
HOUSTON (ICIS news)--US factory orders for furniture - an important downstream market for many petrochemicals - were down 28% in October from the same month a year ago, according to an industry report released on Monday.
Shipments from furniture factories were down 20% in October, as the cascade of bad economic news dampened consumer spending, according to a monthly survey released by Smith Leonard, a US accounting and consulting firm.
“We have now technically been in a recession for a year,” said Ken Smith, managing partner of Smith Leonard. “Typically, the longer ones last about 18 months. The question is - is this a typical recession? We think not. There are lots of things that need to happen before consumers begin to show confidence again.”
Job losses have to stop, and the housing market needs to hit bottom, Smith said. He added that he expects the results for November and December to be similar to October's.
In Smith Leonard's monthly survey of factories, 94% said their orders were lower in October and 73% reported declines of more than 20%. For the year to date, 89% of survey participants said their orders were down.
October's weak performance pushed the year-to-date decline in orders to 12%. Shipments were down 11% for the year.
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