August 2021 printing shipments came in at $6.87 billion, up from July’s $6.47 billion. Last month had been the worst July the industry had in…well, probably ever), even after we began the year so auspiciously. August 2021 shipments have leapfrogged over August 2020, and if history is any guide (and it may not be anymore), we are in for a couple of months of rising shipments. The good news on the virus front is that the infection and hospitalization rates are generally on the decline, at least nationally (there are still some regional hotspots), and other economic indicators suggest a return to something akin to normalcy. As we head into the fall, we’ll see if we can say on course.

January-to-August shipments are $53.42 billion, not far off 2020’s January-to-August number of $53.68. Some milestones to keep in minds as we careen toward the end of the year: we reported back in February that 2020 was an $84.07 billion year, down from $87.65 billion in 2019 (these are based on old inflation adjustments and recent CPI figures are making historical comparisons a bit of a challenge), so if the industry has a good autumn, 2021 will end up being not a bad year, all things considered.