HIGH POINT, N.C. -- According to the latest survey of residential furniture manufacturers and distributors in Furniture Insights, a monthly report by Smith Leonard, new orders in June were 5 percent higher than June 2015. June 2015 new orders were 10 percent higher than June 2014. But the results in total do not tell the whole story. About one-half of the participants reported increased orders, some significant double-digit gains, while others reported significant declines in orders.

Overall, it appears that upholstery did better than casegoods. Year-to-date, new orders were just slightly ahead of last year’s first half of the year. The first six months of last year showed a 5 percent increase over the same period of 2014. Only approximately 42 percent of the participants posted order gains over last year for the six-month period.

Shipments were 2 percent higher in June 2016 versus June 2015, with slightly over one-half of the participants reporting increased shipments. As with orders, the variations were sizeable with some up double digits and others off double digits. Year-to-date, as with orders, shipments were up slightly less than 1 percent. Just over 44 percent of the participants reported increased shipments year-to-date.

Backlogs fell 3 percent from May due to shipments exceeding orders. Backlogs were down 5 percent from June 2015. In May 2016, backlogs were 6 percent lower than May 2015.

Receivable levels fell 3 percent from June 2015 in spite of the increase in shipments of 2 percent. Receivable levels continue to be in very good shape in total as they have been for several months.

Inventories were up 3 percent over June 2015, down from a 6 percent increase reported in May. It appears that inventories are slowly getting back in line with current business conditions.

The number of factory and warehouse employees was up 1 percent over June of 2015, down from a 2 percent increase reported last month. The number of employees fell 1 percent from May 2015.

Factory and warehouse payrolls were 2 percent higher than June 2015, again in line with current business. Overall, the employment situation seems in line even with factory and warehouse payrolls up 2 percent for the year-to-date. Some of this is related to wage increases which had not been given in a long time in some cases.

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