Last month in our industry “slice and dice” data series, we began looking at historical employment in the various printing industry segments.

This week, we look at screen printing employment, the trend of which is the opposite of what we have seen in general commercial printing: it has been growing.

In 2010, there were a total of 57,674 employees in screen printing establishments (NAICS 323113). As of 2016 (the most recent year for which we have data), screen printing employment had increased +9.3% to 63,056. It’s logical that screen printing employment has grown because screen printing establishments have grown by +15.6% during this same period.

As we said in our commentary on screen printing establishments, this is due to the growth of specialty printing—be it textiles (T-shirts, hoodies, spiritwear, etc.), 3D objects (smartphone cases, drinkware, sports items, etc.), and the like—as these kinds of items have started to proliferate in the past decade. Digital inkjet printing technologies like UV and dye-sublimation can now handle the short-run component of specialty printing, but a lot of it remains the purview of screen, as well as pad printing, screen’s sibling process. It’s not uncommon to find hybrid screen/digital shops. There is also the emergence and growth of industrial printing, which as we have commented ad nauseam is merging with commercial and specialty printing, and screen as well as digital printing are heavily used in those kinds of applications.

Last year, we began highlighting data from our Commercial Printing Establishments, which complements and supplements our regular tracking of printing industry shipments and other industry data. These counts are based on data from the Census Bureau’s County Business Patterns, but County Business Patterns includes other data, as well, such as number of employees. As you recall from our establishments data over the past months, these counts are broken down by commercial printing business classification (based on NAICS, the North American Industrial Classification System):

  • 323 (Printing and Related Support Activities)
  • 32311 (Printing)
  • 323111 (Commercial Printing, except Screen and Books)
  • 323113 (Commercial Screen Printing)
  • 323117 (Books Printing)
  • 32312 (Support Activities for Printing—aka prepress and postpress services)

These data, and the overarching year-to-year trends, like other demographic data, can be used not only for business planning and forecasting, but also sales and marketing resource allocation.

Every other week, in addition to establishments, we will be breaking these employment and other CBP data down in different ways.

Special Note on the Government Shutdown: Some government data series that WhatTheyThink tracks are not being updated or their release is being delayed. Specifically, monthly printing shipments and quarterly profits and revenues data are not being updated. We will have the latest data once publication resumes...whenever that may be.