Home Furnishing Careers Outlook
Job opportunities in the home furnishings industry depend in large part on the overall economy. Income growth has been sluggish for most Americans through the early 2000s, so consumer spending on home furnishings and interior decoration has suffered as a result. However, people who are considering the purchase of a new home may opt instead to spend money on redecorating. New residential and industrial construction both may continue to grow, which will improve opportunities for interior designers and decorators. New housing construction slowed in 2006, so this trend may be diminished. The U.S. Department of Labor predicts that interior designers, as well commercial and industrial designers, should have job growth equivalent to the average for all careers through 2014.
The furniture and silverware segments of the home furnishings industry have been in a slow growth period for some time. In addition to only modest demand growth, furniture and silverware manufacturers are facing competition from companies overseas. Furniture production continues to move abroad, where labor is less expensive, and those pieces that require intensive labor are often imported from other countries. Similarly, silverware manufacturers contend with fierce competition from companies abroad, especially those in Europe and Asia. Additionally, consumers simply don’t buy expensive silverware more than once or twice in a lifetime, and those who are buying are increasingly price-conscious.
Interior designers should once again benefit from a variety of technological innovations. In addition to affecting the design of homes, advances in technology such as computer-aided design and robotic manufacturing will create the need for multidisciplinary design. On the flip side, technology in the furniture and silverware manufacturing industries will play a part in limiting employment opportunities. Computer-controlled machinery, automated processes, and robots will all prevent employment from increasing as fast as demand for furniture. The implementation of labor-saving machinery will also eliminate jobs currently held by lower-skilled workers who manually operate machinery in the manufacture of silverware.
Interior designers and decorators should be able to find job opportunities, particularly industrial designers in housing developments, hospital complexes, hotels, and other large building projects. There will also be a variety of opportunities for residential designers. Professionals who have familiarity with technology will definitely have a competitive edge in the job market.
Despite the rather dreary outlook for furniture and silverware workers, job openings will continue to be available, but most will result from workers moving to other jobs or leaving the workforce altogether. Those who have experience with computer-controlled machinery will have the best employment prospects.
Related Career Fields:
- Furniture Manufacturing Workers
- Industrial Designers
- Interior Designers and Decorators
- Leather Tanning and Finishing Workers
- Machine Tool Operators
- Precision Machinists
- Precision Metalworkers
- Plastics Products Manufacturing Workers
- Silverware Artisans and Workers
For More Information:
- American Home Furnishings Alliance (AHFA)
- American Society of Interior Designers (ASID)
- Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA)
- International Interior Design Association (IIDA)
- North American Home Furnishings Association (NAHFA)
- Society of American Silversmiths (SAS)