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Data Analysis

Prepress and Postpress Services Establishments

Prepress and Postpress Services Establishments

Published: November 16, 2018

In 2010, there were 2,080 establishments offering prepress and/or postpress services; by 2016, that number had dropped to 1,545. (The Census Bureau stopped breaking out prepress and postpress establishments separately in 2012.) It’s not difficult to understand why the number of these establishments has been dropping;  prepress is being absorbed into the printing process itself (especially in digital printing), and more print businesses are acquiring their own finishing capabilities.

 

End of the Season? September 2018 Printing Shipments

End of the Season? September 2018 Printing Shipments

Published: November 9, 2018

Printing shipments for September 2018 came in at $6.52 billion. That’s down from August—and it’s well below August 2017’s $6.76 billion. Are we seeing a new seasonality in the printing industry—or the end of any seasonality?

 

Screen Printers—2016

Screen Printers—2016

Published: November 2, 2018

In 2016, there were 5,150 total U.S. commercial screen printing establishments. As with most printing categories, the majority have under 10 employees, but screen shops tend to be smaller than other kinds of printing establishments.

 

Graphic Arts Employment Continues to Decline; PR Employment Continues to Grow

Graphic Arts Employment Continues to Decline; PR Employment Continues to Grow

Published: October 26, 2018

Overall printing employment dropped from August to September 2018, and on a year-over-year basis is down -1.5%. Non-production printing employment was up slightly, indicating that production staff are the hardest employees to find. PR employment is again the industry bright spot, employment-wise.

 

Screen Printers 2010–2016

Screen Printers 2010–2016

Published: October 19, 2018

From 2010 to 2016, the number of U.S. commercial screen printing establishments increased from 4,454 to 5,150. Growth in screen printing establishments has been consistent from year to year. Chalk this up to the rise of specialty printing.

 

Dead Heat: August 2018 Printing Shipments

Dead Heat: August 2018 Printing Shipments

Published: October 12, 2018

Printing shipments for August 2018 came in at $6.89 billion. That’s essentially even with August 2017’s $6.88 billion on an inflation-adjusted basis.

 

Commercial Printers—2016

Commercial Printers—2016

Published: October 5, 2018

In 2016, there were 18,405 total commercial printing establishments (excluding screen and book printers). Half of them have fewer than 5 employees.

 

Book Printers—2016

Book Printers—2016

Published: September 28, 2018

In 2016, there were 421 total book printing establishments. The majority have under 10 employees. This is similar to what we find in general commercial printing—yet different.

 

July 2018 Printing Shipments: We Have Some Good News and Some Bad News

July 2018 Printing Shipments: We Have Some Good News and Some Bad News

Published: September 21, 2018

Printing shipments for July 2018 came in at $6.31 billion—that’s down -3.4% from June, but it’s up +2.3% from July 2017. We’ll take whatever victories we can.

 

Book Printers—2010–2016

Book Printers—2010–2016

Published: September 14, 2018

In 2010, there were 536 book printing establishments. In the ensuing six years, the establishment count would drop -21%. So says our Commercial Printing Establishments tracker.

 

Words of the Profits

Words of the Profits

Published: September 7, 2018

Looking at the most recent industry profits data that came out earlier this week, we continue to tell the “tale of two cities.” Low profitability of large printers is dragging down average industry profitability. For the industry as a whole, cracking—or re-cracking—$4 billion in profits is proving to be an elusive goal.

 

Mid-Size Establishments—2010–2016

Mid-Size Establishments—2010–2016

Published: August 31, 2018

In 2010, there were 6,725 10–19-employee commercial printing establishments. Among this demographic category, there was the most precipitous drop from 2010 to 2011—the fallout from the Great Recession which started to take its toll after 2009. By 2012, the bleeding had been largely stanched, and the year-to-year declines were more modest. So says our recently launched Commercial Printing Establishments tracker.

 

Canadian Printing Shipments

Canadian Printing Shipments

Published: August 24, 2018

Looking at the 12-month moving average of Canada’s printing shipments, it may look like Canada’s printing industry has been holding steady, but the inflation-adjusted figures show a slight decline from a recent peak at the end of 2013.

 

Consolidation Among Large Print Businesses: 2010–2016

Consolidation Among Large Print Businesses: 2010–2016

Published: August 17, 2018

In 2010, there were 2,124 establishments having 50 or more employees. By 2016, they had dropped to 1,851 (down -13%). So says our new Commercial Printing Establishments tracker, based on data from the Census Bureau’s County Business Patterns, which presents—in spreadsheet form—U.S. commercial printing establishments from 2010 to 2016, broken down by six different print business classifications and nine employee-size breakdowns.

 

Printing Shipments Head Into the Dog Days of Summer

Printing Shipments Head Into the Dog Days of Summer

Published: August 10, 2018

The inflation-adjusted value of printing shipments for June 2018 were down from $6.9 billion in May to $6.5 billion in June. On the plus side, it’s not appreciably below the $6.6 billion reported in June 2017.

 

WhatTheyThink Launches New Industry Establishment Data Series

WhatTheyThink Launches New Industry Establishment Data Series

Published: August 3, 2018

Our new Commercial Printing Establishments tracker, based on data from the Census Bureau’s County Business Patterns, presents—in spreadsheet form—U.S. commercial printing establishments from 2010 to 2016, broken down by six different print business classifications and nine employee-size breakdowns.

 

June Printing Employment Down Y/Y

June Printing Employment Down Y/Y

Published: July 27, 2018

Overall, printing employment ticked up from May to June 2018, but on a year-over-year basis is down -1.8% from June 2017. Among the creative markets, PR is the place to be.

 

May Printing Shipments Up from April, Closing in on 2017 Levels

May Printing Shipments Up from April, Closing in on 2017 Levels

Published: July 13, 2018

Printing shipments for May 2018 came in at $6.77 billion, up +3.1% from April. However, on an inflation-adjusted basis, May 2018 came in below the $6.92 billion reported in May 2017, and is well below the recent high of $7.46 billion back in May 2016.

 

Big Printers' Writedowns and Interest Payments Are a Big Drag on Printing Industry Profits

Big Printers' Writedowns and Interest Payments Are a Big Drag on Printing Industry Profits

Published: June 22, 2018

Writedowns in the first quarter of 2018 for commercial printers with $25 million or more in assets were $157 million, or 1.9% of sales. The assets may be written down, but the borrowing that was created to finance them remains. Interest expense was 4.8% of sales. For the quarter, losses were -1.47% of sales. That rate of loss made average profits before taxes for the industry a mediocre 3% of sales—which means that printers with less than $25 million in assets must have done well.

 

Full-Time Employment, Sets New Record, Up +904,000, But Does It Really Feel that Good?

Full-Time Employment, Sets New Record, Up +904,000, But Does It Really Feel that Good?

Published: June 8, 2018

The May employment report was regarded as good, but when you dig past the top-level numbers, it was better than it looked. However, while the 3.8% unemployment rate looks good on the surface, it really can’t be compared to when it was last attained nearly 20 years ago. So many workers left the workforce that this figure implies a tighter labor than it really is. We will really know we have a strong economy when the active labor force starts increasing.

 

Consumer Durable Goods Orders Moving at Almost 2X GDP Rate

Consumer Durable Goods Orders Moving at Almost 2X GDP Rate

Published: May 18, 2018

Durable goods orders for consumers (less transportation) are growing at a rate almost two times faster than Real GDP. This data series remains -14% below where it was at the start of the recession in December 2017, and is a critical one to monitor for indications of an improved economy.

 

Q1-2018 Rises +2.3%, Slower Rate than Q4-2017

Q1-2018 Rises +2.3%, Slower Rate than Q4-2017

Published: May 11, 2018

The Bureau of Economic Analysis’ advance report estimated that Q1-2018 real gross domestic product was up at an annual rate of +2.3%, which was slower than the +2.9% for Q4-2017. Because companies and individuals, especially corporations, shifted expenses into 2017 and delayed revenue recognition to 2018 to take advantage of the rates in the new tax law, many key economic data series—such as this one—will be subject to larger than usual revision.

 

Federal Reserve Updates Industrial Production Data Series

Federal Reserve Updates Industrial Production Data Series

Published: April 13, 2018

The Federal Reserve revised 2015–2017 industrial production down from its original reports, meaning that industrial production peaked in 2014 and then slowed. The initial data made things seem better than what consumers and employees were actually experiencing.

 

Q4-2017 GDP Revisions Stronger than Earlier Reports

Q4-2017 GDP Revisions Stronger than Earlier Reports

Published: April 6, 2018

Q4-2017 GDP estimates were raised to +2.9% from the original estimate of +2.5%. (But beware inventories.) At the same time, shenanigans resulting from the latest tax bill are blurring statistics visibility, especially where corporate profits are concerned.

 

US Commercial Printing Capital Expenditures

US Commercial Printing Capital Expenditures

Published: March 9, 2018

The capital expenditures of commercial printers fell in 2016, but the investment in less expensive used equipment may have been a major factor.

 

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