AKTRIN Reports Furniture Manufacturing Employment Declines By Almost 20%
Furniture World Magazine
Total employment in the furniture industry (household and office segments) stood at 577,300 persons in 2004. Employment in all of manufacturing totaled 14.4 million persons. Thus, the furniture industry accounts for only 4.0% of the manufacturing total, and only 0.4% of the 134 million people in total with jobs in the United States in 2004.
Over the past two decades furniture employment has been on the rise both in absolute terms and in relative terms, a claim that cannot be made by overall manufacturing. Between 1984 and 2004, furniture industry employment grew by 0.5% while total manufacturing employment fell by 19.6% As a result, furniture’s share of manufacturing employment has risen. The reason is that the furniture industry lends itself less to labor-saving technologies than other industries.
Kitchen cabinet, household and institutional furniture manufacturers employed 64.8% of the people in the furniture industry. The remaining 35.2%, were employed by office and other furniture manufacturers. Though it still claims the greatest share, kitchen cabinet, household and institutional furniture witnessed a gradual erosion in their share over the last two decades.
The non-production worker share varies widely across the various furniture segments. The non-production share is generally higher within the office group (29%) compared to the household group (19%). Since office furniture is frequently distributed directly by the manufacturers, more marketing and design staff must be retained by office furniture manufacturers.
Production worker employment has grown less rapidly than non-production workers. In the early 1960s salaried and commissioned workers accounted for only about 17% of total employment but more than 20% at the present time. The shift in the labor composition reflects both the introduction of labor-saving technology (which has reduced the relative need for production workers) and the increasingly complex business environment (which has increased the relative need for marketing and administrative workers).
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