The furniture industry in the United States and Canada
Giovanni Barbiano di Belgiojoso
The US furniture market is facing a challenging period, with the mounting financial crisis and falling home sales. Moreover, growing unemployment is putting additional strain on consumer confidence. As such, a contraction of furniture demand is expected for 2008 and 2009. However, the USA remains the largest furniture consumer and importer worldwide, accounting for about one quarter of total world furniture consumption. In this respect, a number of analysts consider the current scenario to be a temporary one, with a likely recovery of the US economy in the medium-term. Indeed the US economy still has a strong foundation and the resources to overcome the crisis. The Canadian furniture industry can rely on worthy assets such as large wood availability, relatively low electricity costs and a long established expertise in furniture manufacturing. Yet the rapid growth of imports has turned Canada into a net importer of furniture in 2007. Nevertheless, today the country economy is facing a slowdown linked to the US scenario, with likely repercussions on the furniture market. As such, a stall in furniture demand is expected in the short run, with a recovery taking place in the medium term.
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