The Business and Institutional Furniture Manufacturer's Association (BIFMA) International, Grand Rapids, MI, recently released the latest office furniture industry forecast prepared by the economic consulting organization, Global Insight. The forecast predicts an eight percent decline in shipments to $8.2 billion for 2003, as compared to $8.9 billion realized in 2002.
The anticipation of war with Iraq had a more significant than expected impact on industry shipments during the first quarter of 2003. First quarter shipments declined 12 percent as compared to the first quarter of 2002. Global Insight has expected a drop of only two percent.
Global Insight does not envision significant change in the level of order and shipment volumes during the second quarter of 2003, nor does it expect them to decline much further, assuming the macro economy proceeds according to expectations.
BIFMA now anticipates two more quarters of negative growth before shipments flatten out in the fourth quarter of 2003.
A fairly significant industry rebound is expected in 2004 once corporate investment recovers and should result in the first year of positive growth for the industry since 2000.
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