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January Printing Shipments -- Please, Can We Change the Subject?

January 2008 printing shipments were very disappointing.

By Dr. Joe Webb
Published: March 5, 2008

January 2008 printing shipments were very disappointing. On a current dollar basis, they were down -$228 million, or -2.8%. On an inflation-adjusted basis, they were down -$575 million, or -6.8%.
Even our forecasting models were spooked by these data, a subject I'll discuss at greater length in Monday's column.
In other economic news, the Institute of Supply Management Manufacturing and non-Manufacturing Indices were below the 50 mark. What I have not seen reported is that the ISM Manufacturing Index can drop all the way down to 42 before it really drags on the whole economy. What is more disturbing to me is the non-Manufacturing Index, which was 49.3, higher than the experts expected. The Index was actually up 4.7 points from the prior one, but disappointing nonetheless.
Thursday we get initial jobless claims, and Friday is the unemployment report. If it hits 5.1%, expect the media to have a feeding frenzy -- somebody spoil the party and tell them that "full employment" is between 4% and 6% -- and that 5% is the number right in the midpoint of that.

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

What do you think? Please send feedback to Dr. Joe by emailing him at drjoe@whattheythink.com.

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