People will often say that American manufacturing is on the ropes. And it is undeniable that many sectors have taken a hit in recent years. Yet, there are still segments of American industry that should lead to optimism. I would like to examine control room furniture manufacturing here as an example.
What purpose is there in examining network operations center furniture? First off, furniture is classified as something called a durable good. As you may or may not know, durable goods are used as indicators of economic health. When companies have faith in the strength of the economy, they buy more durable goods. If their confidence is weak, they likely put off purchases of durable goods until later in the year. Put another way, if people are buying items meant to last, they are confident in the national economy for the life of that item. More immediately, there is a strong relationship between durable goods and gross domestic product.
In these terms, here is some good news. When comparing furniture orders this year versus last year, the numbers for this April are up more than 12%. The numbers are usually compared year-to-year like this, since month-to-month can create lopsided data. This April compared to last April, shipments and order backlogs increased by similar percentages. Taking a longer look at the first four months of the year, reveals a more modest increase, but still 5%. A 5% increase is a substantial increase. Consider that Durable Goods Orders usually shift by tenths of a percent year-to-year.
Allow me to point out that these figures are for the consumer furnishings sector. I have reason to think that these numbers are reflective of the wider industry and therefore applicable to the control room furniture sector as well. Shipments of durable goods on the consumer side are factored into GDP. As such, shipments were up more than 5% in the first third of 2014.
Looking at the numbers here, it looks as though American industry is in good health. Actually, it seems to be growing as well or better than ever, if one focuses on specific niche markets like control room furniture. That growth is driven by American companies like Inracks Corp in Buffalo, NY who produce quality products here in the United States.