HIGH POINT, NC – The latest survey of residential furniture manufacturers conducted by accounting and consulting firm Smith Leonard PLLC indicates that new orders for July dropped 17% compared to July 2007 and were 13% less than June 2008. The July decline pushed the year-to-date orders to a 10% drop for the first seven months, up from a 9% decline through June and 8% through May.

The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index gained slightly in September after a small improvement in August. The Index increased to 59.8, up from 58.5 in August. The Present Situation Index decreased to 58.5 from 65.0 in August. However, the Expectations Index increased to 60.5 from 54.1 in August.

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