WhatTheyThink

Data Analysis

Inflation-adjusted Commercial & Industrial Loans Growing
Inflation-adjusted Commercial & Industrial Loans Growing

Published: August 22, 2014

Commercial and industrial loans took a while to start growing again, almost two years after the recovery started. Loans now total $1.7 trillion, the highest amount in the history of the data series, a little more than 10% of GDP. Overall, they are up about 40% on a current dollar basis since mid-2010. Full Analysis

Initial Jobless Claims as a Percentage of the Workforce
Initial Jobless Claims as a Percentage of the Workforce

Published: August 15, 2014

As the number of employed workers has been slowly increasing, and the total workforce has been growing, initial claims for unemployment have been decreasing. The historical perspective is very interesting. This past recession, as bad as it was, did not come close to the levels of the 1970s and 1980s recessions (about 0.6% of the workforce). This most recent recovery is already at the best levels of prior expansions. It doesn't feel “that good”; what's different? The workforce has not kept up with population growth, and about 2 million workers have permanently left the workforce. Also, companies have been cautious in their hiring, meaning, that there are fewer workers to dismiss when businesses of the past needed to. One could look at the chart and say that when this ratio reaches this current level (0.2%) a recession has always followed. Probably not in this case: this ratio may go to unprecedented lower levels because of the workforce exodus and the slow pace of hiring that has made this recovery so different than previous ones. Economist Mark Perry at the American Enterprise Institute discussed the steady rise in job openings at his blog. They are at a 13-year high (not adjusted for population growth), and still less than January 2000 by 800,000. Full Analysis

Latest Recovery Indicators
Latest Recovery Indicators

Published: August 8, 2014

Dr. Joe's Key Recovery Indicators were started in 2009, and track the monthly ups and downs of the economy in terms that are relevant to small and mid-size businesses. Full Analysis

GDP Data Revised Down for 2011 and 2012, Revised Up for 2013
GDP Data Revised Down for 2011 and 2012, Revised Up for 2013

Published: July 30, 2014

Full Analysis

USPS' Every Door Direct Mail Program Declines After Price Increase
USPS' Every Door Direct Mail Program Declines After Price Increase

Published: July 24, 2014

Full Analysis

Inflation multipliers have been updated
Inflation multipliers have been updated

Published: July 17, 2014

Full Analysis

NFIB Small Business Index Breaks Through 2003 Recession Bottom for Last Two Months
NFIB Small Business Index Breaks Through 2003 Recession Bottom for Last Two Months

Published: July 10, 2014

The NFIB index has been trapped between the bottom of two recessions, that of the early 1990s and the early 2000s recession bottom. Though the latest report retreated a bit, it's still above the 2003 low. Small business is improving at a very slow pace, but this may finally be a good sign after the very disappointing Q1 GDP report. Full Analysis

Recovery Indicators Improve
Recovery Indicators Improve

Published: July 3, 2014

The recovery indicators were mainly better this month, with the NASDAQ bouncing around then finishing well, and three of the four ISM indicators increasing. The one that didn’t is still firmly in expansion territory. The original estimate of proprietors’ income was $1,371 then it was reduced to $1,366 billion and now it’s $1,359. Full Analysis

Advertising Agency Revenues Still Climbing
Advertising Agency Revenues Still Climbing

Published: June 24, 2014

The chart below shows the latest revenue data, on an inflation-adjusted basis, for ad agencies and publishers. Note how ad agency revenues are rising. While there have always been agencies that specialize in certain media, like television, direct mail, or others, the industry is media agnostic in the aggregate. Its job is to increase the positive visibility of its clients and help spur their customers into action. Full Analysis

Selected Generally “Non-Offset” Products and Services Offered by US Commercial Printers
Selected Generally “Non-Offset” Products and Services Offered by US Commercial Printers

Published: June 18, 2014

Full Analysis

Latest Print and Content Creation Employment Data
Latest Print and Content Creation Employment Data

Published: June 11, 2014

Full Analysis

Since June 2009, rate of overall USPS price increases almost 4x the rate of increase in commercial printing prices
Since June 2009, rate of overall USPS price increases almost 4x the rate of increase in commercial printing prices

Published: June 5, 2014

Full Analysis

Though Q1-2014 GDP was -1%, the Year-to-Year Trend Remains in the +2% Range
Though Q1-2014 GDP was -1%, the Year-to-Year Trend Remains in the +2% Range

Published: May 29, 2014

The Bureau of Economic Analysis released the second revision of Q1-2014 US Gross Domestic Product (GDP), indicating a contraction of the US economy in the quarter. As reported in prior (“laughable and embarassing”) analysis, an inventory buildup in the last two quarters of 2013 distorted the underlying condition of the economy. Full Analysis

Q1-2014 Business Conditions Compared to Q1-2013
Q1-2014 Business Conditions Compared to Q1-2013

Published: May 29, 2014

Business conditions were generally good, with more than 33% reporting business increases of 6% or more. About 13% of respondents indicated business decreases of 6% or more Full Analysis

NFIB Small Business Index Still Between Two Recession Bottoms
NFIB Small Business Index Still Between Two Recession Bottoms

Published: May 22, 2014

Full Analysis

Labor Market Net Hiring Turns Negative
Labor Market Net Hiring Turns Negative

Published: May 15, 2014

US employment data has many cross-currents: the unemployment rate is down, but the labor participation rate is at 35-year lows. Last week the Bureau of Labor Statistics published its JOLTS report, which shows they dynamic factors at play in the labor market. This chart shows the percentage of hires less the number of quits on a year-to-year basis. Note in the chart below the rapid rise in employment as the recession ended and the recovery began, and also how it has narrowed and turned negative in recent months. It's been mainly negative for about 18 months. Full Analysis

Q1-2014 US Commercial Printing Shipments Down -4% Compared to 2013
Q1-2014 US Commercial Printing Shipments Down -4% Compared to 2013

Published: May 8, 2014

March 2013 US commercial printing shipments were down -$148 million (-2.2%) compared to 2012. The first quarter was down -$770 billion (-4%). On an inflation-adjusted basis, shipments were down -$270 million (-5.4%) and down -$1.05 billion (-5.4%) for the quarter. Full Analysis

Recovery Indicators Rebound; Q1-2014 GDP Below 1% but Corrects for Business Inventory Misjudgments
Recovery Indicators Rebound; Q1-2014 GDP Below 1% but Corrects for Business Inventory Misjudgments

Published: May 8, 2014

The recovery indicators rebounded since last month. New orders for manufacturers remained at the same level that indicates growth. Full Analysis

April Printing Employment +1,000
April Printing Employment +1,000

Published: May 7, 2014

Printing employment in April rose by 1,000 workers. It is always hard to determine if these were actual workers or if the changes were the result of issues with the estimation models of the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Production workers were the greatest part of the increase (800). Full Analysis

2013 Newspaper Revenue
2013 Newspaper Revenue

Published: April 23, 2014

Circulation revenue for U.S. newspapers recorded a second consecutive year of growth, rising 3.7% to $10.87 billion in 2013 according to figures released by the Newspaper Association of America. Total revenue was $37.59 billion in 2013, a loss of 2.6 percent over 2012. Full Analysis

Table of Latest Inflation Multipliers
Table of Latest Inflation Multipliers

Published: April 23, 2014

Below is the latest set of multipliers based on the Consumer Price Index. Multiply your historical financial statements by the figures below to adjust data to the CPI for the first quarter of this year. Full Analysis

Printing Industry Shipments and Profits
Printing Industry Shipments and Profits

Published: April 18, 2014

For the year, profits were $4.34 billion. On an inflation-adjusted basis, that was the highest level of industry profits since 2007. This is despite there being $28 billion less printing shipments, 8,000 fewer printing establishments, and 73,000 fewer employees. It was the best profits per establishment ($173,000) since 2000. Full Analysis

Printing Profits per Employee Rise
Printing Profits per Employee Rise

Published: April 17, 2014

Profits per employee increased to higher levels since 2000. Industry consolidation is a big factor in this report. It is not just mergers and acquisitions, but also plant closures and bankruptcies, and the opening of new businesses that absorb the best and most appropriate resources of the closed plants, and also the strategic changes that surviving companies make as they respond and anticipate marketplace changes, absorbing the sales volume of departed competitors. Full Analysis

Employment-Population Ratio Still Below Pre-Recession Levels
Employment-Population Ratio Still Below Pre-Recession Levels

Published: April 10, 2014

One of the measures of the health of the labor market is the comparison of the total population to civilian employment. This measure has yet to approach levels achieved prior to the recession. This measure is important because it follows the growth in population. The number of workers is now nearly what it was at the start of the recession, but population has grown about 6% since that time. In rough terms, this means that the economy is short about 5.6 million jobs. Full Analysis

Employment Changes in the Printing and Content Creation Industries
Employment Changes in the Printing and Content Creation Industries

Published: April 7, 2014

Full Analysis

Ad Agency Revenues On Steady Rise Higher
Ad Agency Revenues On Steady Rise Higher

Published: March 16, 2014

Since the second quarter of 2007, the first quarter for which we can create four-quarter inflation-adjusted moving totals, ad agency revenues are up more than 13%. Publishing industries have note fared well at all. Full Analysis

Advertising Agency Employment Surpasses Commercial Printing, Reflecting the Shift from Traditional Media
Advertising Agency Employment Surpasses Commercial Printing, Reflecting the Shift from Traditional Media

Published: February 7, 2014

The major news in the data update is that employment in advertising agencies surpassed that of the printing industry in July 2013. For 2013, printing employment was down by -12,600 (-2.8%). The biggest change was in employees outside of production who were -8,400 of that decline (-5.7%). Graphic design employment was down slightly for the year, but these data do not include freelancers, which are an essential part of that business. Inside the advertising agency employment data are public relations employees, the main area of employment growth in this sector. Full Analysis

2013 US Commercial Printing Shipments Reach $77.6 Billion
2013 US Commercial Printing Shipments Reach $77.6 Billion

Published: February 4, 2014

The Department of Commerce released December 2013 and revised November data. December shipments were $6.271B (-3.7% vs. Dec. 2012). On a current dollar basis, the total for the year was $77.6B, -3.8%. After adjusting for inflation using the Consumer Price Index, shipments were down -5.1%. The chart below shows current dollar and inflation-adjusted shipments starting with 2007 Full Analysis

Inflation-adjusted US Printing and Print Services Shipments
Inflation-adjusted US Printing and Print Services Shipments

Published: February 4, 2014

Full Analysis

Inflation-adjusted Annualized US Publishing & Advertising Agency Revenues
Inflation-adjusted Annualized US Publishing & Advertising Agency Revenues

Published: January 14, 2014

This chart shows the inflation-adjusted revenue trends for selected content-creation businesses. Note how advertising revenues have increased despite the declines in the revenues to publishers. Agencies have shifted much of their efforts to developing “earned media” (a/k/a search engines, social media, e-marketing and numerous other digital formats), and the production of it. Full Analysis

Six Consecutive Profitable Quarters for U.S. Commercial Printing Businesses
Six Consecutive Profitable Quarters for U.S. Commercial Printing Businesses

Published: June 15, 2011

The first quarter of 2011 continued a welcome continuation of profitability for the industry. The industry shakeout of unprofitable businesses, and the better management of healthier businesses continues to create an improved bottom line, but there are still great challenges ahead. The restructuring of the industry will be a continuing process in 2011 and beyond. Full Analysis

April 2011 U.S. Commercial Printing Shipments Down
April 2011 U.S. Commercial Printing Shipments Down

Published: June 9, 2011

April 2011 commercial printing shipments were $7.08 billion, down -$109 million (-1.5%) compared to 2010. Adjusting for inflation, shipments were down -$366 million (-4.5%). Full Analysis

March 2011 U.S. Commercial Printing Shipments Up; Twelve Months of Increases
March 2011 U.S. Commercial Printing Shipments Up; Twelve Months of Increases

Published: May 6, 2011

March printing shipments were up, resulting in 12 consecutive months of increase. Dr. Webb explains how the easy comparisons to the prior year are about to end, and that the balance of 2011 will be about the same as 2010. He reviews the upcoming data revisions from the Commerce Department on May 13, the importance of inflation adjusting company financial data, and the shipment rates of Canada's commercial printing industry. Full Analysis

U.S. Commercial Printing Businesses Produce Estimated $1.11 Billion in Profits in Fourth Quarter 2010
U.S. Commercial Printing Businesses Produce Estimated $1.11 Billion in Profits in Fourth Quarter 2010

Published: April 6, 2011

Dr. Joe Webb has compiled reports on US commercial printing profits going back to 1995, and brings it all current to Q4 2010. This report examines the latest trends in shipments, profits and capacity for the industry, of which the Federal Reserve just made revisions going back almost 25 years. How does Joe recommend printers steer the course? What will it take to get the print industry out of the hole? Dr. Webb has insights that can help. Full Analysis

February 2011 U.S. Commercial Printing Shipments Up +4.4%, Eleven Months of Y-O-Y Increases
February 2011 U.S. Commercial Printing Shipments Up +4.4%, Eleven Months of Y-O-Y Increases

Published: April 5, 2011

Dr. Webb looks at February's shipments, Canada's January shipments, and updated forecasts for the North American printing industry to 2017. There's an updated GDP Forecast model and commentary on why that model is not totally reliable for forecasting the print industry. Will the rest of 2011 be as positive as January and February? Dr. Joe discusses. Full Analysis

January 2011 U.S. Commercial Printing Shipments Up +4.1%, Good Start to New Year
January 2011 U.S. Commercial Printing Shipments Up +4.1%, Good Start to New Year

Published: March 10, 2011

Dr. Webb comments on what the forecasting models are projecting for shipments out to 2017. The podcast also includes an analysis of how the industry has changed between 2000 and 2009 based on the latest data from the Commerce Department. Full Analysis

2010 U.S. Commercial Printing Shipments Finish at $86.7 Billion, +0.9% Versus 2009
2010 U.S. Commercial Printing Shipments Finish at $86.7 Billion, +0.9% Versus 2009

Published: February 4, 2011

December 2010 commercial printing shipments were $7.48 billion, up $347 million (+4.9%) compared to 2009. Adjusting for inflation, shipments were up +3.3%. This brought the year's shipments to $86.7 billion. Full Analysis

November U.S. Commercial Printing Shipments Up +4.2%
November U.S. Commercial Printing Shipments Up +4.2%

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. Full Analysis

U.S. Commercial Printing Businesses Produce Estimated $1.1 Billion in Profits in Third Quarter 2010
U.S. Commercial Printing Businesses Produce Estimated $1.1 Billion in Profits in Third Quarter 2010

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. Full Analysis

October U.S. Commercial Printing Shipments Up +1.4%
October U.S. Commercial Printing Shipments Up +1.4%

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%. Full Analysis

Sharp Decrease in Layoffs Due to Bankruptcy Reflect Industry Improvement
Sharp Decrease in Layoffs Due to Bankruptcy Reflect Industry Improvement

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. Full Analysis

September U.S. Commercial Printing Shipments Up +3.4%; Six Consecutive Months of Growth Versus 2009
September U.S. Commercial Printing Shipments Up +3.4%; Six Consecutive Months of Growth Versus 2009

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. Full Analysis

Q3 2010 Real GDP on Quarter/Quarter and Year/Year Basis
Q3 2010 Real GDP on Quarter/Quarter and Year/Year Basis

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. Full Analysis

Change in Commercial Printing Segments 1997-2008
Change in Commercial Printing Segments 1997-2008

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. Full Analysis

August U.S. Commercial Printing Shipments Up +3.3%
August U.S. Commercial Printing Shipments Up +3.3%

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. Full Analysis

ISM Manufacturing Index - Selected Components Since December 2007
ISM Manufacturing Index - Selected Components Since December 2007

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. Full Analysis

Major Investment Areas Commerical Sheetfed vs. Commercial Digital Color
Major Investment Areas Commerical Sheetfed vs. Commercial Digital Color

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 Full Analysis

U.S. Commercial Printing Businesses Produce Estimated $1.1 Billion in Profits in Second Quarter 2010
U.S. Commercial Printing Businesses Produce Estimated $1.1 Billion in Profits in Second Quarter 2010

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. Full Analysis

July U.S. Commercial Printing Shipments Up +0.3%
July U.S. Commercial Printing Shipments Up +0.3%

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. Full Analysis

How magazine circulation, ad pages and mailed by piece has changed since 2000
How magazine circulation, ad pages and mailed by piece has changed since 2000

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. Full Analysis