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June US Commercial Printing Shipments Rise +4.2%; First Half of 2014 Down -2.2%

June 2014 US commercial printing shipments were up $

By Dr. Joe Webb
Published: August 5, 2014

June 2014 US commercial printing shipments were up $252 million (+4.2%) compared to 2013. On an inflation-adjusted basis, they were up $111 million (+1.8%). May 2014 shipments were revised down -$46 million, and finished the month down -$284 million (-4.1%) on a current dollar basis, and down -$458 million (-6.4%) compared to May 2013. For the first half of 2014, shipments were nearly $38.1 billion, down -$869 million (-2.2%) and down -$1.6 billion (-4.1%). (click chart to enlarge) printing shipments jan-june 13-14 080514   In recent years, May has been the biggest month of the year. With the revision to May 2014 shipments, April is the biggest month of the first half, and likely for 2014 if recent patterns hold. For the last 12 months, shipments total $76.8 billion, down -3.7% on a current dollar basis, and $77.8 billion, down -5.3% on an inflation-adjusted basis. An increase in shipments is always welcome. The last one was in April 2013, when shipments were up +1.2% in current dollars, but were up just +0.1% on an inflation-adjusted basis that month. The last month with a larger positive inflation-adjusted gain was January 2013 which was +2.1% higher than January 2012. This June 2014 is just one positive month, and it will be interesting to see if the positive trend can continue. The last time there were consecutive months of positive inflation-adjusted comparisons was from August 2010 through February 2011. where the average comparison was +0.9%. Printing Employment The Commerce Department relies of employment data for much of its industry estimation models. July employment data were released last week, with US commercial printing employment falling by 1,000 from June. For the same period last year, employment was flat. This is a possible indication that business was already contracting as many printing plants were heading into the seasonally slowest month of the year.(click chart to enlarge) employment table 080514 Employment in advertising and public relations remained strong in the June 2013 and 2014 comparison. Top line employment in publishing comparing June and July 2014 fell by 2,400 employees. These continue to be the results of media shifts from paid formats (broadcast, magazine, newspapers) to non-paid formats (social media, content marketing, etc.). # # #

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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