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September Commercial Printing Shipments +3.9%; Employment Data Reflect Shift in Media Use

US commercial printing shipments had a good September,

By Dr. Joe Webb
Published: November 10, 2014

US commercial printing shipments had a good September, with shipments at nearly $6.8 billion, up $252 million (+3.9%, +$132 million or +2% after adjusting for inflation). Q3 shipments were up slightly, +0.1% on an inflation-adjusted basis. For 2014, shipments are down -1.3% (-2.6% with adjustment for inflation). June through September, however, have averaged +2.9% in current dollars (+0.9% inflation-adjusted). (click chart to enlarge) ptg ship jan-sept 110914 The last time there was at least a 3 out of 4 month period with positive current and inflation-adjusted comparisons to the prior year was early 2011. At that time the average month's shipments were almost $7 billion, but now are about $6.4 billion. * * * Commercial printing employment in October fell by 1,200 workers compared to September, and is down by 4,700 workers compared to 2013. Employment in periodical publishing remained below 100,000 (lowest since 1987). Year-to-year gains in employment continue in public relations (+7%), graphic design (+2.9%), and in advertising agencies (+2% after subtracting public relations workers). (click chart to enlarge) employment table 110914 Employment data reflect the change in media use by consumers and budget allocations by advertisers and communicators of all types. The data imply that real October printing shipments will be flat compared to last year when they are reported in a few weeks. # # #

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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