HOLLAND, MI - The latest MADA / OFI Office Trends Survey revealed a slight positive trend for the commercial furniture industry, showing increase in gross shipments and tooling expenditures and a slight decrease in capital expenditures.

Global Office Furniture Industry Index Shows ImprovementThe July survey, prepared by Michael A. Dunlap & Associates, showed an overall index score of 55.62 on a 100 point scale, a slight bump from January’s rating of 54.36.  The highest recorded Index was 59.72 in July 2005; the lowest was 41.45 in April 2009. The average overall index is 54.37.

The survey showed there were more hires in the furniture industry, which resulted in an overall drop in the numbers of hours worked by individuals. Costs for raw materials improved and the survey showed an increase in gross shipments and new product development across the industry.

The most frequently cited threats to the industry are healthcare costs and the costs of materials, steel and wood.

The survey began in 2004 and has been conducted 40 times.

The survey focuses upon 10 key activities; Gross Shipments, Order Backlog / Incoming Orders, Employment Levels, Manufacturing Hours (Overtime vs. Reduced Hours), Capital Investment, Tooling Expenditures, New Product Development Activity, Raw Material Costs, Employee Costs, and the respondents’ Personal Outlook on the industry. Eight of the 10 key activities showed signs of improvement, according to survey results.

“We maintain the opinion that the industry will continue on its steady growth in mid 2014, then accelerate during late 2014 into early 2015," says Dunlap.

The survey was sent to more than 750 individuals involved with office furniture manufacturing and suppliers from Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, North and South America. The next survey will be conducted in October.

A similar office furniture forecast from BIFMA predicts a 4.8 percent increase in production, valued at $9.8 billion. The forecast also predicts a 6.8 percent increase in office furniture consumption, valued at $12.3 billion. Additionally, the Business and Industry Furniture Manufacturing Association predicts a strong 2015, with production around $10.6 billion, an 8.8 percent increase. Similarly, consumption of office furniture will jump to $13.7 billion, an 11.8 percent increase.

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