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Economics & Research Blog

US Comm'l Printers Post Best Quarterly Profits Since Q3-2007

More analysis will be coming soon,

By Dr. Joe Webb
Published: December 13, 2010

More analysis will be coming soon, but I felt this news was worth getting out in this bulletin form since it is so good. Q3 profits were $1.1 billion, slightly higher than last quarter's $1.07 billion. This was the highest quarterly profit since the third quarter of 2007. For the last four quarters, the US commercial printing business has produced profits of $2.1 billion. These profits are nothing like those of the end of the 1990s, but they have been rather heroically produced. The third quarter of 2010's sales levels are -19% lower than that of Q3-07. As followers of our various economic reports know, there are numerous data showing our industry in the midst of significant restructuring. Numerous weak companies were purged from the industry in 2008 and 2009, employment fell below 500,000, and print volume was absorbed into fewer but more efficient (and perhaps more savvy) plants, leading to a turnaround in profits. The chart below shows the four-quarter moving totals of inflation adjusted profits and sales since 1995, and the divergence of the sales and profit lines in the lower right hand corner is rather remarkable. More commentary about these data, and what's ahead in 2011, will be in an upcoming special report to be released soon.

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.



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