March furniture production shows monthly fall while domestic value rises

The rate of furniture production during March registered a monthly decline while the value in domestic goods increased both on last year and the previous month.

According to the latest Office for National Statistics (ONS) data, the rate of furniture production fell 3.7% compared to February, while also down 11.9% on March last year.

Overall, monthly production output grew by 0.7% in March 2023, which was its strongest monthly growth since May 2021, following a fall of 0.1% in February 2023 (revised up from a 0.2% fall in the ONS’ last publication).

Meanwhile, the value of the manufacture of furniture for March resulted at £1,004.6m, up 14% from £879.9m in February. Against the same period last year, the value rose 0.1% from £1,003.5m.

As for the value of furniture manufacturer exports, this decreased 14.1% to £60.3m for the month from £70.2m – marking a third straight month of decline. Against last year, exports value fell 40.1% from £100.7m. The value of domestic furniture manufacture increased 16.6% to £944.3m from £809.7m in the month – up for a third consecutive month, while also rising 4.5% from £902.8m last year.

Total gross domestic product (GDP) is estimated to have fallen by 0.3% in March 2023, after showing no growth in February 2023 (unrevised from our previous publication). Looking at the broader picture, GDP grew by 0.1% in the three months to March 2023.

The services sector fell by 0.5% in March 2023, after an unrevised fall of 0.1% in February 2023, and was the main contributor to the fall in monthly GDP.

Commenting on the GDP figures, ONS Director of Economic Statistics Darren Morgan said: “Despite the UK economy contracting in March, GDP grew a little over the first quarter as a whole.

“The fall in March was driven by widespread decreases across the services sector. Despite the launch of new number plates, cars sales were low by historic standards – continuing the trend seen since the start of the pandemic – with warehousing, distribution and retail also having a poor month.

“These falls were partially offset by a strong month for manufacturing as well as growth in gas production and distribution and also in construction.

“Across the quarter as a whole growth was driven by IT and construction, partially offset by falls in health, education and public administration, with these sectors affected by strikes.”

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