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An Economic Update You Won't See in the Press

Economic conditions are being twisted and distorted by the long-held biases of the business press. The charged political climate of an election year fans passions that magnify momentary small and nearly meaningless changes in economic data into cataclysms or triumphs. You have to step back to see what's really happening, or not happening. Small businesses can't choose economic conditions, but they can choose their means of navigation.

By Dr. Joe Webb
Published: June 11, 2012


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Dr. Joe Webb is one of the graphic arts industry's best-known consultants, forecasters, and commentators. He is the director of WhatTheyThink's Economics and Research Center.



By Thaddeus B Kubis on Jun 11, 2012

Dr. Joe,

Super article and you are on target, the need to choose partners and define a viable strategy are critical. Partners are defined not only as industry partners but bring in related partners as well. Print will continue to change and that is a good thing, if as you state the strategy and partners are supportive of the change. If we cannot change the future then we need to adapt to the future.


By Gary Ampulski on Jun 11, 2012

Very provocative.

Its unfortunate that there is no tracking of the mix changes that are taking place with industry leaders in NAICS 323. Some players began the transformation a few years ago and have figured out how to grow and generate double digit margins but the stats only show industry totals which are pretty bleak. Until all the weak players are flushed out of the NAICS category this will probably continue. Once that happens, someone will have to redefine what the "Commercial Print" space really means.

Today we have a traditional definition applied to an industry that is evolving at a pretty quick pace. At some point there will be an inflection in the industry growth rates and the mix will drive positive growth again as they have for some individual businesses. Print will not go away but may become a minority share of the revenue generated by a Commercial Printer in the future. Perhaps at that time NAICS 323 may be redefined to represent "Communication Supply Chain Management" of something else more appropriate.

Either way, we live in very exciting times.


By Gary Lundberg on Jun 11, 2012

Great post on employment! Can't beat Dr Joe for looking into the data. Are we moving into a great consulting, freelancing, independent contractor era?


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