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Economics and Research

Welcome to the WhatTheyThink Economics & Research Center, where our Director, Dr. Joe Webb, collects, creates, and analyzes the economy, industry trends, and forecasts. Data are from many sources, including our own field research, and provide an overall view of the markets for content creation, print, publishing, digital media, and the factors that shape their future. The approach is often unconventional, and explores topics in ways executives need to ensure they have a richer view of their challenges and opportunities.

Graph Expo 2014 Event with Dr. Joe Webb

Join Dr. Joe Webb and WhatTheyThink for breakfast and thought-provoking commentary at Graph Expo. Scheduled for Tuesday, September 30th, from 8:30 AM to 10:00 AM.

Register Here

NEW Data from the Economics & Research Center

Monthly Commercial Printing Shipments data series. View it here.

Industry Snapshot collection of regularly updated industry data about various measures of business activity. View it here.

Data Analysis

Global Bond Rates May Make it Hard for the Fed to Affect US Long-Term Rates

Global Bond Rates May Make it Hard for the Fed to Affect US Long-Term Rates

The Fed has been in unchartered territory with its post-2008 actions, and unwinding them may take a bit of creativity. One of their obstacles might be the rates of long term government bonds around the world. The chart below shows the yield of 10-year bonds earlier this week. The rate on US 10-year bonds is more than 4x Japan's and more than 2x Germany's. In an odd situation, US bonds are actually paying less than those of Spain. Global investors looking for yield (pension funds, governments, mutual funds, and others) may thwart Fed actions by finding US funds to be compelling deals on a relative basis. The Fed can usually affect only short term rates, which was one of the reasons they became aggressive in buying long term debt in their Quantitative Easing (QE) actions. Getting yields down for all durations is what made their actions were essentially unprecedented for the US. If they attempt to sell their holdings quickly to raise rates, there might be more buyers than they anticipate, making the action fruitless. It still looks like once the QE buying is done in the next few weeks the Fed will simply let their most of their holdings mature rather than force-feed them to the market. Listen for the word “macroprudential” in the next months. That's how Fed officials are describing the gentle prodding they may have to take to reverse their course. It turns out that some of the Fed members are worried their actions may encounter resistance, so they will resort to some arm-twisting to push banks to act in the manner they want. That hasn't worked well in the past, and it probably won't work well now, but it does add a word to our vocabulary. More info

Data Analysis Archive

Dr. Joe Sightings

September 17, 2014 Special Event Webinar, details to be announced; Dr. Joe and Richard Romano discuss their new book to be introduced at Graph Expo.

September 17 & 18, 2014, Oslo, Norway, Sign & Print Show. Click here for Google translation of the show site.

September 24 & 25, 2014, Copenhagen, Denmark, Sign & Print Show. Click here for Google translation of the show site.

September 28 - October 1, 2014, Graph Expo. The twelfth annual breakfast presentation is on Tuesday, September 30. Veritiv (the newly merged Unisource + Xpedx) is sponsoring the program for their second time. Breakfast is available at 8:00am, the presentation begins at 8:30am, 9:40am break for show staff to go to their booths, Q&A continues to 10:00am. Register here. (Please note that Dr. Webb will be at Graph Expo for only a short time this year, for parts of Monday and Tuesday)

September 30, 2014. September 30, 2014, Graph Expo, special booksigning events for “This Point Forward: The New Start the Marketplace Demands.” The first session is 10:30am to 12noon at Verativ (booth 1272) followed by 1:00pm to 3:00pm at Kodak (booth 831). These are the only scheduled times for signings. Free copies of the book are available through of the generous support of the sponsors. The show books are special, are the only ones planned at this time to be printed with interior color with dimensional printed covers. Books ordered online will not have these features.

October 2 and 3, 2014, Tokyo, Japan. HDF 21, the Heidelberg Forum, held at the Shinagawa Prince Hotel (Tokyo). Dr. Webb is the third session of that afternoon at 4pm to 5:30pm. The topic is “Disrupting the Future 2014” where he will discuss the overall market for print, the nature of print compared to other media, and discuss business strategies for the survival and new directions of printing businesses in the future. In the discussions he will review print applications and how they have changed from the perspectives of clients and printers.

October 15th, 2014. Bolingbrook, IL, Tobe Direct “Lunch & Learn” invitation-only event as Dr. Joe speaks about “Print in the New Media Marketplace.” Call Ms. Courtney Tobe at 1-502-271-4991 for further details and invitation information. Event will be at TobeDirect, 605 Territorial Drive, Bolingbrook, IL.

December 19, 2014 Summit 2014 – Global Printing Standardization & Integrated Media, Hong Kong Design Institute; more details forthcoming.

On-demand replay:
2014/2015 Economic Outlook Webinar with Dr. Joe Webb

This important session includes an economic overview and forecast, printing shipments and profits forecasts, industry demographics and other great insight and contrarian views that will help printing businesses and suppliers to the industry better plan for a successful 2015.

View the Webinar

 Suggested Reading

Index of Economic Freedom free data and commentary about the economies of more than 100 countries, government actions and regulations, business conditions, and social measures of the economies.

World Bank free report about doing business around the world

Mary Meeker's Internet Trends slide show
Pew's State of the News Media web site is packed with data and trends about print and electronic media

A Contrarian Word about Economic Data and Forecasts; The US Commercial Printing Forecast 2012-2018

News Stories Underscore Today’s Media Shift and The Need for Action by Print CEOs

Download the slides and audio of the December 8 economic webinar

Free slide and audio presentation by Dr. Joe about adjusting industry shipments for inflation on Slideshare


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