HIGH POINT, N.C. -- Smith Leonard’s latest survey of residential furniture manufacturers and distributors showed that orders are slowing.

The results of Smith Leonard’s survey for March 2019 confirmed what they had been hearing. The survey of residential furniture manufacturers and distributors showed new orders in March 2019 down 3 percent from March 2018 following a 5 percent decline in February.

This decline in orders brought the year-to-date results to a flat order rate for the full quarter. Only 42 percent of the participants posted increased orders year to date.

Shipments were 1 percent lower than March 2018 following a 3 percent decrease reported last month. After a fast start in January, year to date shipments only increased 3 percent for the quarter. Backlogs remained steady from February as the dollar amount of orders was about the same as the dollar amounts shipped.

Existing home sales were off slightly in April, continuing what was reported in March. Total existing home sales fell 0.4 percent in April with sales down 4.4 percent from a year ago. Single-family sales fell 1 percent in April from March and were down 4 percent from April a year ago.

The Conference Board’s Leading Economic Index for the U.S. increased again in April. The report noted that even with favorable stock prices (until just recently) financial conditions and consumers’ outlook, the economic growth is expected to moderate towards 2 percent by year end.

Smith Leonard reported that February and March orders and shipments clearly slowed for a majority of their participants. From conversations, business was not that much better in April though some did get some pick up at the High Point Market. Lately, there does seem to be a bit more optimism with seemingly some pick up in May. Weather continues to affect a great deal of the country with flooding and tornados doing substantial damage in many parts. Those issues are reported to be affecting business. See http://www.smith-leonard.com.

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