The Business and Institutional Furniture Manufacturer's Association (BIFMA) International reported that U.S. manufacturers' shipments of office furniture increased 17 percent in the first quarter of 2005 compared to the first quarter of 2004. Shipments totaled U.S. $2.29 billion for the quarter, up from $1.96 billion in the prior year and exceeding earlier expectations.
Economic consulting organization Global Insight also released its latest industry forecast for 2005-2006, which showed that office furniture shipment growth is expected to continue, albeit at a somewhat slower rate. For the balance of calendar year 2005, quarterly growth is expected to range between 8 and 10 percent. On an annualized basis, this should translate to a shipments value exceeding $9.9 billion and growth of about 11 percent as compared to calendar year 2004. The value of U.S. shipments was $8.9 billion in 2004, a 5-percent increase from 2003.
Global Insight said that employment growth in the service sector and increasing investment in new office building construction are the primary factors driving the expectations for furniture industry growth over the next 18 months. The consulting firm anticipates a growth rate of about 7 percent for calendar year 2006 to a level of $10.68 billion.
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