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  2. Today, the Philippine furniture industry has metamorphosed in a highly diversified manufacturing sector, which is composed of roughly 15,000 furniture firms directly or indirectly employing about 800,000 people. This is thrice the employment estimate of 250,000 in the 1980’s and does not include the estimated 1,000,000 people in the sub-contracting network.

  3. Ninety-eight percent of these companies are micro, small and medium enterprises with only 2% being large enterprises. The bulk of all these companies are concentrated in three provinces, namely: Metro Manila, Cebu and Pampanga.

  4. These figures clearly indicate that furniture manufacturing in the Philippines is still labor-intensive, with products ranging from leg items (chairs, tables, beds, settees); case goods (cabinets, desks, chest of drawers, kitchen storage units and related products); and a combination of these two (building or home fittings, shelves, ornaments and similar products).

  5. Moreover, the industry relies heavily on locally procured raw materials such as wood (which represents 40% of the total furniture produced in the country); rattan, bamboo, buri and other forest-based or agricultural materials (which account for another 40%); metal, stone, plastic, and a combination of these materials (mixed media).

  6. The industry, as a whole, contributes about U$600M in the sales to the economy. This does not include the taxes and sundry fees which the furniture companies, as well as the 1.8M workers in these establishments, bring into the coffers of the government through taxes.

  7. Growth was admittedly sluggish starting the late 1990’s, reaching a high of U$381.39M in 2000 and dropping to a low of U$297M in 2001 due to 9/11. Recovery has been slow but steady, despite hiccups such as the Asian health crisis in 2003.

  8. Prospects and Challenges. The prospects for the industry are very bright for 2005: a 37% growth in export sales for the 1st quarter of 2005 viz the same period in 2004 was posted; the industry was the 4th highest export sales earner across revenue streams during the 1st quarter of 2005;

  9. the industry enjoys continued international recognition for excellence in product design and craftsmanship as well as creativity and innovation in the application of materials.

  10. The reality of an increasingly global market, however, is not lost on the industry. Not only is competition from other furniture producing countries getting stiff, but the industry is also experiencing problems with the flow of its raw materials, as well as a drain in its competency skill base. Despite these, prospects for our industry remain good.

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