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Furniture at the top of manufacturing again in January, but supply constraints mount

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TEMPE, Ariz. – Furniture ranked second among manufacturing industries reporting growth in January, falling only to apparel and leather products, according to the Institute for Supply Management’s latest report.

The industry also saw growth in new orders, employment, inventories and imports. And just like in December, it led the sector in production output.

But challenges remain, particularly regarding supply, labor and prices of raw materials. Compared with December, the furniture industry reported slower supplier deliveries and paying more for raw materials. Order backlogs also remain high and appear to be growing.

“Bookings continue to increase as we are still dealing with a shortage of labor and supply chain issues,” said one furniture respondent.

Overall, the manufacturing sector grew for the 20th straight month in January, but that growth may finally be slowing. ISM’s manufacturing index for January registered a 57.6%, a decrease of 1.2% from December. New orders fell 3.1% production output fell 1.6%.

“The U.S. manufacturing sector remains in a demand-driven, supply chain-constrained environment, but January was the third straight month with indications of improvements in labor resources and supplier delivery performance,” said ISM Chairman Timothy R. Fiore. “Still, there were shortages of critical intermediate materials, difficulties in transporting products and lack of direct labor on factory floors due to the COVID-19 omicron variant. Quit rates and early retirements hinder reliable consumption.”

Fourteen of the 18 manufacturing industries recognized by the ISM reported growth for the month, with three reporting no change and just one (paper products) reporting a decline.



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