Welcome to the WhatTheyThink data analysis section. As a service to the printing and publishing industries, WhatTheyThink provides access to economic, trend and other data that is valuable to industry executives for strategic planning and other purposes. This is also an excellent way for industry executives to stay current with the latest trends. This includes proprietary data developed by our own Dr. Joe Webb, Director of the WhatTheyThink economics and research center, as well as data from a variety of partner sources.
Data from the Economics & Research Center
Monthly Commercial Printing Shipments data series
Industry Snapshot collection of regularly updated industry data about various measures of business activity
Published: January 19, 2011
November 2010 commercial printing shipments were $7.48 billion, up $303 million (+4.2%) compared to 2009. Adjusting for inflation, shipments were up +4.2%. “This was a very encouraging month, and continues the consecutive gain in current dollar shipments for eight months,” explained Dr. Joe Webb, director of WhatTheyThink's Economics and Research Center.
Published: December 14, 2010
The third quarter of 2010 continued a welcome continuation of profitability for the industry. It has had seven consecutive months of increased sales, but it's clear that the profits trend is increasing, but the long term sales trend is flat.
Published: December 6, 2010
October 2010 commercial printing shipments were $7.61 billion, up $108 million (+1.4%) compared to 2009. Adjusting for inflation, shipments were up +0.3%.
Published: November 15, 2010
Even something that sounds bad, like the number of printing industry layoffs due to bankruptcy, can be good if they're declining. Dr. Joe explains the sharp decline in the last four quarters and why it's very good news.
Published: November 4, 2010
September 2010 commercial printing shipments were $7.58 billion, up $248 million (+3.4%) compared to 2009. Adjusting for inflation, shipments were up +2.2%. “This continues the consecutive gain in current dollar shipments for six months, a welcome change for commercial printers,” explained Dr. Joe Webb, director of WhatTheyThink's Economics and Research Center.
Published: November 1, 2010
Dr. Joe looks at the advance report for GDP in 2010's third quarter and explains what it means, what it doesn't, and why it might be worth ignoring.
Published: October 18, 2010
Dr. Joe updates his look at the recent trends in printing industry employment and the last five months of increased sales are playing out.
Published: October 11, 2010
August 2010 commercial printing shipments were $7.3 billion, up $235 million (+3.3%) compared to 2009. Adjusting for inflation, shipments were up +2.2.
Published: October 4, 2010
Dr. Joe explains the latest Institute for Supply Management manufacturing report in terms of its key components of new orders, prices paid, employment, and imports. The manufacturing side of the economy is still growing, but it looks like it's slowing down, and inflation is starting to creep into the system.
Published: September 20, 2010
As we head into GraphExpo, what does our latest survey show that commercial sheetfed and commercial color digital printers are looking for? Dr. Joe explains it all
Published: September 15, 2010
The second quarter of 2010 continued a welcome continuation of mild profitability for the industry. Much of the industry is still recovering from a very difficult 2009, and two quarters of profits can't really make up for that. But we're on the right track, even though there are still challenges ahead.
Published: September 7, 2010
July 2010 commercial printing shipments were $6.87 billion, up $18 million (+0.3%) compared to 2009. Adjusting for inflation, shipments were down -1%. This continues the consecutive gain in current dollar shipments for four months, the first time we have had a period of that extent since November 2007.
Published: August 16, 2010
How have magazines changed over the last 10 years? Dr. Joe looks at subscription circulation, ad pages, postal shipments and weight, and what they tell us about this critical segment of our industry.
Published: August 3, 2010
June 2010 commercial printing shipments were $7.2 billion, up +2.4% compared to 2009. Adjusting for inflation, shipments were up +1.3%. “This is the first three month gain in shipments on an inflation-adjusted basis since the period of October 2006 through April 2007.
Published: August 2, 2010
Who's buying and who's selling? The print business has been consolidating, and we're certain there is more to go, especially with the popularity of "tuck-ins." Dr. Joe explains why "tuck-ins" are not about what you should do with your shirt, but how it has slowly been creating a more efficient industry.
Published: July 19, 2010
Dr. Joe discusses how commercial printing segments have changed their share of industry shipments from 1997 through 2008, and why digital printing's share might be even larger than the data indicate.
Published: July 6, 2010
May's shipments were up compared to 2009, and April's were revised significantly upward. This is the first time since early 2008 that the industry produced two consecutive months with shipment increases. For complete details see this month's printing shipments report.
Published: June 21, 2010
Dr. Joe reviews the latest economic data and explains where we're headed for the third and fourth quarters and why.
Published: June 7, 2010
April 2010 commercial printing shipments were $7.05 billion, down -1.9% compared to 2009. Adjusting for inflation, shipments were down -4.1%. For the first four months of 2010, shipments were down -4.7% on a current dollar basis.
Published: May 17, 2010
The Department of Commerce revised almost 10 years of printing industry shipments data last week. The WhatTheyThink economic data elves dug into the data and explain what those revisions mean, what years were revised up, and which ones were revised down.
Published: May 3, 2010
The first quarter GDP showed that the economy is growing, but that was compared to the fourth quarter. How is GDP changing on a year-to-year comparison? The GDP data are about the whole economy, but how is small business doing? Dr. Joe explains how a rarely reported part of the quarterly GDP data helps us judge the health of small businesses.
Published: April 19, 2010
The trends in industry revenues of advertising and publishing sectors each tell an interesting story. They get more interesting once iPhones, Kindles, and iPads are added to the mix. Dr. Joe explains it all, but may have more questions than answers, which might spell opportunities for print businesses.
Published: April 5, 2010
The ISM Manufacturing Index is one of the most watched economic indicators. It's up for 8 consecutive months, and the latest release was one of the strongest of this decade. Dr. Joe gives some background and explains what this latest reading means.
Published: March 15, 2010
The Census Bureau publishes printing industry births and deaths data, but the data take years to be published. The latest data are from 2006, but Dr. Joe estimates what's happened since,especially 2008 and 2009.
Published: February 15, 2010
Broadband use by adults has been increasing and the number of households with broadband service has almost doubled since 2005. What's the relationship with commercial printing volume? Last year, there were about 48 billion hours of broadband use by households, and every additional hour of use decreases commercial print volume by about $2.