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Q1 2013 US Commercial Printing Shipments Nearly Flat with 2012; March Shipments Down

US commercial printing shipments for the first quarter were down -

By Dr. Joe Webb
Published: May 3, 2013

US commercial printing shipments for the first quarter were down -$42 million compared to 2012 (-0.22%), at $19.3 billion. Q1 shipments may have been distorted by a strong January, likely caused by delayed buying by small businesses as they delayed purchases in tax planning efforts in December 2012.
March 2013 shipments were $6.771 billion, down -$163 million, or -2.4% compared to 2012 (-3.8% after inflation). Both February and March had similar comparisons, raising concerns of a negative pattern emerging for the rest of the year.
The US Commerce Department will make major revisions, as they do every year, to their manufacturing data series. The revisions are released in mid-May. Last year, the revision changed the peak month in commercial print seasonality to May, rather than March or October. We will be carefully examining their revisions in this regard, as a May peak month did not hold up to analytical scrutiny. When the Commerce Department makes its revisions, most are for the last three calendar years, with minor changes to another three or four years beyond that. We will report on the net effect of those changes as soon as possible.
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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.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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