11-28-2020 Report sees strong furniture orders into 2021

Posted on: November 30th, 2020 by admin

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November 28, 2020

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By Guy Lucas guylucas@newstopicnews.com

Nov 27, 2020 Updated Nov 27, 2020

 

Furniture orders continued to be strong in October and November, and unless the recent surges of COVID-19 lead to widespread shutdowns as happened in the spring, business should stay strong into 2021, a consulting firm reports.

 

The latest Furniture Insights report from Smith Leonard, an accounting and consulting firm based in High Point, says that the continuing strength of furniture orders now has a majority of manufacturers who were surveyed reporting that their total orders during 2020 through September exceeded what they had received at the same point in 2019. Last month, only about one-third reported that.

 

“We have had four months in a row of great order rates compared to the same month of the previous year,” the report said. “We thought there would be pent-up demand, but who knew it would last this long.”

 

However, bottlenecks continue to worsen in shipping, in part because of a difficulty in finding workers, leading to growth in backlogs — up 123% in September from the level reported in September 2019, the report said.

 

“Unfortunately getting goods delivered to customers has become the major issue. Not only is there a shortage of domestic employees and certain raw materials, but also freight has become a major issue, with both shortages of containers as well as with domestic carriers, as there are also driver shortages. All of this has caused backlogs to grow to uncomfortable levels,” it said.

 

The shipping bottlenecks stem in part from a problem that predates the COVID-19 pandemic: a shortage of truck drivers stretching back several years.

 

In October, the Journal of Commerce reported that Bob Costello, the chief economist of the American Trucking Associations, predicted that driver shortages will keep shipping capacity tight and prices higher.

 

Driver recruitment problems that existed before the pandemic have been worsened because some drivers have not returned to work, and Costello thinks that there could be a shortfall of 105,000 drivers nationwide by 2023.

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