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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 Monthly Commercial Printing Shipments data series is now available. View it here.

Data Analysis

Initial Jobless Claims as a Percentage of the Workforce

Initial Jobless Claims as a Percentage of the Workforce

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. 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)

October 2 and 3, 2014, Tokyo, Japan. Dr. Joe speaks at HDF 21, the Heidelberg Forum, on October 2, and at JAGATS meeting on October 3.

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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