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NAPL Issues Economic Update: Recession for Print Just About Over

Tuesday, March 26, 2002

Press release from the issuing company

PARAMUS, NJ, March 25, 2002 -- The National Association for Printing Leadership (NAPL), the trade association for the commercial printing industry, has issued its latest State of the Industry Economic Report with encouraging news that key NAPL business indicators signal that the recession is just about over for print. The February NAPL Printing Business Index (PBI), the association's comprehensive measure of printing industry activity, reached 49.2, marking the fourth consecutive month that the PBI has risen from its record low of 33.4 in October 2001, and indicating the start of a significantly improved business trend. A PBI reading above 50.0 signifies that more printers report increasing business activity than report slowing activity. Conversely, an index reading below 50.0 indicates the opposite condition. Reflecting the recession's impact on the printing industry, the PBI has been tracking below the 50.0 mark since October 2000. NAPL Vice President and Chief Economist Andrew Paparozzi, stated, "Three key NAPL printing industry business indicators derived from our database – general business conditions, work-on-hand, and confidence – have strengthened recently. They don't suggest that the industry is about to swing from gloom to boom, but they do suggest that the recession is just about over. Also, the February PBI has moved up to 49.2, the highest reading since November 2000." The NAPL Printing Business Index The NAPL Printing Business Index (PBI) is a comprehensive measure of printing activity that includes critical metrics such as current business conditions, expected future business conditions (confidence), work-on-hand, hiring plans, and pre-tax profitability. A PBI reading above 50.0 means that more printers report that activity is picking up than report that activity is slowing down. A PBI reading below 50.0 reflects the opposite situation. As the graph below shows, the PBI peaked at 56.4 in August 2000. Just four months later, it was down to 42.6 – a 24.5% decline, clearly indicating that the economy's landing was not going to be "soft." In May 2001, the PBI fell further to a then record low of 38.1, rebounded nicely in August 2001 to 45.9, but later plunged to a new record low of 33.4 following the tragic events of September 11th. In February 2002, the PBI climbed to 49.2, the 15th consecutive index reading below 50.0, but nonetheless an encouraging move in the right direction. In addition to the monthly Printing Business Index, NAPL’s Printing Economic Research Center produces the Leading Indicators Service, a source of late-breaking data on trends within the graphic arts industry, and issues monthly printing business updates, a quarterly newsletter - The Economic Edge - and an annual State of the Industry Report. The NAPL 2001-2002 State of the Industry Report includes information on printing industry sales and profitability, as well as macroeconomic data for the national economy. Copies are available from NAPL at 800-642-6275, or through the NAPL website at www.NAPL.org. Further information about NAPL economics research programs may be obtained by contacting Mr. Paparozzi at paparozzi@napl.org. About NAPL Chartered in 1933, NAPL is a not-for-profit trade association representing the $88 billion commercial printing industry. NAPL’s mission is "To enable the printing community to profit from change" through a full range of management and educational services to its membership and the industry. In addition to on-site training at its Center for Professional Development in Paramus, New Jersey, and Management Institute (MI) courses held at Northwestern University, NAPL offers on-site consulting services and an annual Top Management Conference (TMC), recognized as a leading source of strategic ideas. The organization’s Communications Department develops and distributes a variety of industry-specific periodicals and special reports, including Printing Manager magazine. NAPL also has a 33% interest in the Graphic Arts Show Company, which owns such major industry events as Graph Expo and Print.




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