HOLLAND, MI - The office furniture industry continues to show modest improvement, according to a quarterly survey of more than 700 domestic and international office furniture manufacturers and suppliers, conducted by Michael A. Dunlap & Associates LLC.

The overall index score for October was 54.68, indicating “the industry is still on solid ground and on a positive track,” said Mike Dunlap of the Holland, MI-based consulting firm.

The MADA/OFI Trends Survey, the 34th by Dunlap, assigns ratings for 10 key business activities: Gross Shipments, Order Backlog/Incoming Orders, Employment Levels, Manufacturing Hours, Capital Investment, Tooling Expenditures, New Product Development Activity, Raw Material Costs, Employee Costs and Personal Outlook.

Rankings are from 1 (worst) to 100 (best), with 50 signifying “neutral” or no change. According to the survey, gross shipments measured 60.25, “significantly higher” the overall average since 2004 of 57.76, while order backlog hit 59.27, up from 56.71.

“The continued improvements in gross sales and order backlog index values are a good sign, as both had been in decline during the past two quarters,” Dunlap said. “I am very happy to see the improvements in the employment or hours worked index values, as the latter is the best since January 2011. Both manufacturers and suppliers appear to be increasing their payrolls and production schedules.”

The employment index also rose to 53.37, compared to 51.69, while the hours worked index hit 58.42, compared to the cumulative survey average of 55.69.

Capital expenditures were at 54.36, but tooling expenditures dropped 3.31 from a cumulative average, to 52.31.

The next quarterly survey by Michael A. Dunlap & Associates will be in January 2013.

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