SIC 2511

This classification consists of establishments engaged in manufacturing wood furniture commonly used in dwellings, with the exception of television, radio, phonograph, and sewing machine cabinets, which are classified in SIC 2517: Wood Television, Radio, Phonograph, and Sewing Machine Cabinets; also, millwork production is classified in SIC 2431: Millwork; wood kitchen cabinets are classified in SIC 2434: Wood Kitchen Cabinets. Cut stone and concrete furniture is classified in the major group for stone, clay, glass, and concrete products; laboratory and hospital furniture, except hospital beds, is in the major group for measuring, analyzing, and controlling instruments; photographic, medical, and optical goods; watches and clocks; and beauty and barber shop furniture is classified in the major group for miscellaneous manufacturing industries; and those engaged in woodworking to individual order or in the nature of reconditioning and repair are classified in non-manufacturing industries.

NAICS Code(s)

337122 (Nonupholstered Wood Household Furniture Manufacturing)

The market for wood household furniture was estimated to be worth nearly $13 billion in 2000, and the industry employed more than 135,000 people in the United States. Average salaries for furniture production workers were $10.08 per hour, nearly $2.00 less that the average in other production industries. Most furniture sold in this category (36 percent) was for the bedroom; with living rooms, dens, and libraries (25 percent), outdoor furniture (18 percent), kitchens and dining rooms (17 percent), and infant's/children's (4 percent) accounting for the remainder of the market.

The industry's leading company in the late 1990s was Life Style Furnishings with sales of more than $2 billion. The company employed 30,000 people. Former first place leader Furniture Brands International fell to the second place spot with sales of $1.9 billion and 20,700 employees.

The Green Movement reached the furniture industry at the close of the 1990s. A few small companies started to recycle shipping pallets into fine furniture, such as coffee tables, desks, and dressers. These pieces are popular in businesses that like to "be green."

Ready-to-assemble (RTA) furniture was extremely popular in the 1990s, partly due to an improvement in quality—the products no longer smacked of dormitory living. Typical products offered wood veneer finishes and such details as rounded corners and beveled glass doors. A piece of RTA furniture can be assembled quickly, usually in less than an hour. O'Sullivan Industries has even utilized Velcro fasteners instead of screws to help hasten assembly. The low cost of RTA furniture and the ease of stocking it has made it popular among large mass merchandisers and warehouse-type stores, which have themselves becomemore popular among consumers. However, RTA furniture only accounted for 15 percent of the industry's total value of product shipments in the late 1990s.

In 1999 the American Furniture Manufacturers Association (AFMA) started a five-year public relations campaign to encourage people to buy more furniture. This was in reaction to a Wall Street Journal industry report that criticized the industry for excessive lead times, advertising low prices rather than value, and not keeping up with production-enhancing technology.

Most exports of American wood household furniture went to Canada (43 percent) and Mexico (7.4 percent). Imports from the Pacific Rim countries (China, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Philippines, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam) are on the rise, increasing by 19 percent during the first nine months of 1999 with imports of nearly $5 billion. Exports lagged behind, with only China and Vietnam showing increased purchases of U.S. wood furniture—17 and 53 percent, respectively. All other Pacific Rim countries cut back on U.S. purchases, ranging from a low of 19 percent less for Taiwan to a high of 84 percent less for South Korea.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations attempted to reduce volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions from chemicals used in furniture finishes. However, the industry was able to postpone some environmental legislation. Executives continue to be concerned about regulations governing finishing as well as wood dust.

Further Reading

Adams, Larry. "Soft Landing Means Economy to Grow, But Slow." Wood and Wood Products, January 1996.

"AFMA Report." Wood & Wood Products, December 1999.

Drill, Larry. "Stop the Ax." Modern Paint and Coatings, August 1996.

"Fine Furniture is Crafted from Used Pallets." BioCycle, May 1999.

"Furnituremakers' Pay Lags Behind national Averages." Wood & Wood Products, July 1999.

Iwanski, John. "The New Top 25 Benchmark: $100 Million." Wood & Wood Products, July 1999.

United States Census Bureau. "Statistics for Industries and Industry Groups: 2000." Annual Survey of Manufacturers. February 2002. Available from .

U.S. Department of Commerce. "Nonupholstered Wood Household Furniture Manufacturing." 1997 Economic Census Manufacturing Industry Series.

"Wood Furniture Trade Deficit on Record Pace." Wood & Wood Products, December 1999.

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