WoodworkingNetwork coverage of the wood manufacturing industry in 2013 was exciting - from hardware and technology innovations, to new forms of panel and laminates - as well as major business trends, it made it easy for us to put together the most highly viewed content among media covering the secondary wood manufacturing industries. 

Our series of reports on the top stories of the 2013 have also been highly read this past week.

Now what about the next 12 months? The robustly growing U.S. economy portends a healthy expansion in wood industries, underpinned by strong business in new homebuilding, and continued improvement in the home remodeling sector.

Multiple wood products manufacturing sectors -including doors, windows, floors, cabinetry, furnishings, and wood components - are reliant on  home building and remodeling businesses. As housing flourishes, the overall economy will as well, driving additional sectors: business and commercial furniture, architectural woodwork, and industrial wood products like railroad ties and telephone poles.

The connection between wood manufacturing overall and the housing market in particular, is illustrated in the 2014 Wood Industry Almanac - which shows how housing-related sectors fit into the industry overall.

Among these is residential furniture, driven by housing and overall consumer confidence. Furniture producers led the expansion in December 2013 of the manufacturing sector, which itself has grown for seven month running. The latest analysis from Smith Leonard showed October 2013 furniture orders  at $1.948 billion, 5% higher than the year prior, with order backlogs up a healthy 11%, at $2.1 billion. "If we can keep this momentum going," says Ken Smith at furniture analysts Smith Leonard, "we should see even more positive results. Year-to-date furniture shipments at $19.177 billion are 5% ahead of 2012.

Consumer confidence, in turn, is driven by jobs, and the latest numbers show improvement on the employment front as well. (The highly tafficked Job Board at WoodworkingNetwork brings this down to wood industry level. More than 400 positions are advertised at any given time, with cabinet maker jobs in Tulsa, Minneapolis, and in Waterford, MI heading today's list.

Much of the reporting at WoodworkingNetwork technology and design trends  will trackHere's a forecast of some of the big stories and trends we'll be tracking for 2014:

    Production Wood Manufacturing

    • Ashley Furniture opens largest U.S. residential furniture plant
    • LED lighting fabricated into mass-produced kitchen cabinetry
    • More states ban LEED
    • High-rise wood buildings
    • Window plant reopenings
    • Ultra thin real stone laminates
    • Fierce competition for wood fiber at panel & wood pellet fuel firms
    • Lumber pricing shocks
      Custom Wood Manufacturing
    • Decline of face-frame cabinetry
    • Impacts of Obamacare on  woodworkers
    • 3D image capture for interior spaces
    • Global outsourced CAD/CAM drafting
    • E-commerce for custom woodshops
    • 3D printed wood components
    • Business and institutional architectural woodwork growth
    • Universal Design and other trends in cabinets and home storage
    • Live-edge lumber design trends for tables, drawers and countertops


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