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July 2012 US Commercial Printing Shipments Flat with 2011

The US commercial printing shipments for July 2012 were $

By Dr. Joe Webb
Published: September 3, 2012

The US commercial printing shipments for July 2012 were $6.26 billion, essentially even with 2011. They were down slightly, -$15 million in current dollars, or -0.2%. On an inflation-adjusted basis, shipments were down -$104 million (-1.6%). The data released since the annual revision of historical data that occurs every May have been somewhat confusing. As reported previously, May 2012 shipments were higher than March, despite years of trend data that show March as the highest month for the first half of the year, followed by a gradual reduction through July. In these latest data for July 2012, there was a major revision to June data. It was an abnormally large correction that decreased the initial June reported shipments by -5.7%. June was originally reported as $6.85 billion, and is now $6.46 billion. These revised data show June shipments as down -3.8% vs. 2011, and -5.4% on inflation-adjusted basis. Perhaps these revised data were a correction for the overestimated May data. All of this is a reminder of the fragile nature of economic reporting, and the importance of using methods that smooth data variations, such as 12-month moving totals, which is our preferred method. In the end, no data are final. For the first seven months of the year, 2012 is down -$879 million on a current dollar basis, or -$126 million per month, about -1.8%. On an inflation adjusted basis, shipments are down approximately -4.0% compared to 2011, or -$1.9 billion. (click image to enlarge)

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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