Spending for new office construction is typically an excellent indicator of the future demand for office furniture for the simple reason that new space coming into the office real estate market will require furniture and fixtures to fill it. Spending for office construction remained boisterous in 2008: Construction rose by double digits for the third consecutive year, advancing 12% to $727 billion. During the two previous years, construction had climbed 18% in 2006 and 19% in 2007. In 2008, the economy suddenly shed 3.0 million jobs, many of them in office-using industries. In the fourth quarter of 2008 the downtown office vacancy rate ticked up to 11.7% from 10.3% a year earlier. In an effort to better match demand, office construction spending is expected to pull back 16 % in 2009 to $61.1 billion. Unfortunately, with further declines in employment expected during 2009, vacancy rates are likely to continue climbing through the year.