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Profits: Back to the Tale of Two Cities
Profits: Back to the Tale of Two Cities

Published: April 9, 2021

We’ve long been calling it “a tale of two cities”—large printers and small/mid-size printers and the profitability gap between them. The pandemic interrupted this ongoing narrative temporarily, but back in Q3 2020, we started to return to normal, at least in terms of industry profits trends, which continued into Q4. Full Analysis

Printing 2021 Quick Look: 2020 Profits
Printing 2021 Quick Look: 2020 Profits

Published: April 7, 2021

According to data from our recently published Printing Outlook 2021 special report, print businesses reported a -9.1% decline in profits from 2019 to 2020. Full Analysis

European Print Industry Snapshot: France
European Print Industry Snapshot: France

Published: April 5, 2021

In this bimonthly series, WhatTheyThink is presenting the state of the printing industry in different European countries based on the latest monthly production numbers. This week, we take a look at the printing industry in France. Full Analysis

Pre- and Postpress Employees—2010–2018
Pre- and Postpress Employees—2010–2018

Published: March 26, 2021

According to County Business Patterns, in 2010, there were 32,906 employees in NAICS 32312 (Support Activities for Printing). By 2018, employees had declined to 22,855. In macro news, Q4 2020 GDP was revised up. Full Analysis

Printing 2021 Quick Look: Anticipated 2021 Jobs/Orders
Printing 2021 Quick Look: Anticipated 2021 Jobs/Orders

Published: March 24, 2021

According to data from our recently published Printing Outlook 2021 special report, print businesses expect print industry jobs/orders to rebound +9.0% from 2020 to 2021. Full Analysis

European Print Industry Snapshot: Italy
European Print Industry Snapshot: Italy

Published: March 23, 2021

In this bimonthly series, WhatTheyThink is presenting the state of the printing industry in different European countries based on the latest monthly production numbers. This week, we take a look at the printing industry in Italy. Full Analysis

Graphic Arts Employment—February 2021
Graphic Arts Employment—February 2021

Published: March 19, 2021

In February 2021, all printing employment is down -0.5% from January, production employment down -0.4%, and non-production printing employment down -0.8%. Full Analysis

Printing 2021 Quick Look: 2020 Jobs/Orders
Printing 2021 Quick Look: 2020 Jobs/Orders

Published: March 17, 2021

According to data from our recently published Printing Outlook 2021 special report, the average number of jobs decreased -10.8% from 2019 to 2020. Full Analysis

Book Printing Employees—2010–2018
Book Printing Employees—2010–2018

Published: March 12, 2021

According to County Business Patterns, in 2010, there were 28,935 employees in NAICS 323117 (Book Printing Establishments). By 2018, employees had declined to 21,976. In macro news, inflation was soft in February. Full Analysis

Printing 2021 Quick Look: Anticipated 2021 Revenues
Printing 2021 Quick Look: Anticipated 2021 Revenues

Published: March 10, 2021

According to data from our recently published Printing Outlook 2021 special report, print businesses expect print industry revenues to rebound +9.1% from 2020 to 2021. Full Analysis

January Printing Shipments—They Can Only Get Better from Here
January Printing Shipments—They Can Only Get Better from Here

Published: March 5, 2021

We kicked off 2021 inauspiciously with January printing shipments coming in at $6.61 billion, down from 2020’s $7.17 billion. It's the worst January in at least the last five years, but already things are boding well for the rest of 2021. Full Analysis

Printing Outlook 2021 Quick Look: 2020 Revenues
Printing Outlook 2021 Quick Look: 2020 Revenues

Published: March 3, 2021

According to data from our recently published Printing Outlook 2021 special report, print industry revenues dropped -12.6% from 2019 to 2020, compared to +4.1% from 2018 to 2019. Full Analysis

European Print Industry Snapshot: United Kingdom
European Print Industry Snapshot: United Kingdom

Published: March 2, 2021

In this bimonthly series, WhatTheyThink is presenting the state of the printing industry in different European countries based on the latest monthly production numbers. This week, we take a look at the printing industry in the United Kingdom. Full Analysis

Commercial Screen Printing Employees—2010–2018
Commercial Screen Printing Employees—2010–2018

Published: February 26, 2021

In 2010, there were 57,674 employees working in US screen printing establishments (NAICS 323113). By 2018, that number had increased +12.4% to 64,840. In macro news, seven “recovery indicators” for parts of the economy most acutely impacted by the pandemic. Full Analysis

December Printing Shipments—One Last Unexpected Twist for 2020
December Printing Shipments—One Last Unexpected Twist for 2020

Published: February 19, 2021

In December 2020, in one last, end-of-the-year rally, printing shipments grew from $7.0 billion to $7.17 billion.   Full Analysis

European Print Industry Snapshot: Germany
European Print Industry Snapshot: Germany

Published: February 15, 2021

In this bimonthly series, WhatTheyThink is presenting the state of the printing industry in different European countries based on the latest monthly production numbers. This week, we take a look at the printing industry in Germany. Full Analysis

Commercial Printing Employees (Less Screen and Books)—2010–2018
Commercial Printing Employees (Less Screen and Books)—2010–2018

Published: February 12, 2021

In 2010, there were 380,107 employees working in US establishments in NAICS 323111 (Commercial Printing–Except Screen and Books). By 2018, that number had declined -13.5% to 328,845. In macro news, the Consumer Price Index (CPI) increased 0.3% in January, or 1.4% over the last 12 months. Full Analysis

Q3 2020 Profits—Back on Track…Sort Of
Q3 2020 Profits—Back on Track…Sort Of

Published: February 5, 2021

Annualized printing industry profits for Q3 2020 rose from -$1.92 billion to -$1.19 billion. That’s still really low, but at least it’s headed back toward positive territory. Full Analysis

European Print Industry Snapshot: Lithuania
European Print Industry Snapshot: Lithuania

Published: February 1, 2021

In this bimonthly series, WhatTheyThink is presenting the state of the printing industry in different European countries based on the latest monthly production numbers. This week, we take a look at the printing industry in Lithuania and the Baltic states. Full Analysis

Commercial Printing Employees—2010–2018
Commercial Printing Employees—2010–2018

Published: January 29, 2021

In 2010, there were 499,622 employees working in US establishments in NAICS 323. By 2018, that number had declined -12.2% to 438,516. In macro news, real GDP increased at an annual rate of 4.0% in Q4 2020. Full Analysis

Graphic Arts Employment—December 2020
Graphic Arts Employment—December 2020

Published: January 22, 2021

In December 2020, all printing employment was up +0.7% from November, production employment up +0.1%, and non-production printing employment up +1.9%. So, basically, a holding pattern—although it’s nice that there are no negative numbers…for almost everyone. Full Analysis

European Print Industry Snapshot: Hungary
European Print Industry Snapshot: Hungary

Published: January 18, 2021

In this bimonthly series, WhatTheyThink is presenting the state of the printing industry in different European countries based on the latest monthly production numbers. This year kicks off with a look at the printing industry in Hungary. Full Analysis

US Copy Center Establishments—2010–2018
US Copy Center Establishments—2010–2018

Published: January 15, 2021

In 2010, there were 6,026 establishments in NAICS 561439 (Business Service Centers [Including Copy Shops]). By 2018, that number had declined to 5,305. In macro news, weekly initial unemployment claims were at 965,000, an increase of 181,000 from the previous week. Full Analysis

November Printing Shipments—It Was Nice While It Lasted
November Printing Shipments—It Was Nice While It Lasted

Published: January 8, 2021

In November 2020, after rising for five straight months, printing shipments plunged from $7.63 billion to $7.0 billion. Full Analysis

Stationery Product Manufacturing Establishments—2012–2018
Stationery Product Manufacturing Establishments—2012–2018

Published: December 18, 2020

In 2010, there were 496 establishments in NAICS 32223 (Stationery Product Manufacturing). By 2018, that number had declined to 359. In macro news, retail sales for November took a dip. Full Analysis

European Print Industry Snapshot: Turkey
European Print Industry Snapshot: Turkey

Published: December 15, 2020

In this bimonthly series, WhatTheyThink is presenting the state of the printing industry in different European countries based on the latest monthly production numbers. This last installment for 2020 features a look at the printing industry in Turkey. Full Analysis

October Printing Shipments—The
October Printing Shipments—The "Best" October in Five Years?

Published: December 11, 2020

In October 2020, printing shipments rose to $7.63 billion—the fifth straight month of increasing shipments, as the industry rebound from the depths of the spring continues.   Full Analysis

Other Paperboard Container Manufacturing Establishments—2012–2018
Other Paperboard Container Manufacturing Establishments—2012–2018

Published: December 4, 2020

In 2012, there were 348 establishments in NAICS 322219 (Other Paperboard Container Manufacturing). By 2018, that number had declined to 290. In macro news, highlights (if you want to call them that) from the most recent Federal Reserve “Beige Book.” Full Analysis

European Print Industry Snapshot: Portugal
European Print Industry Snapshot: Portugal

Published: December 2, 2020

In this bimonthly series, WhatTheyThink is presenting the state of the printing industry in different European countries based on the latest monthly production numbers. This week features a look at the printing industry in Portugal. Full Analysis

Paper Bag and Coated and Treated Paper Manufacturing Establishments—2010–2018
Paper Bag and Coated and Treated Paper Manufacturing Establishments—2010–2018

Published: November 20, 2020

In 2010, there were 825 establishments in NAICS 32222 (Paper Bag and Coated and Treated Paper Manufacturing). By 2018, that number had declined to 725, despite a spurt of growth in 2012. In macro news, initial unemployment claims were 742,000, an increase of 31,000 from the previous week's revised level.  Full Analysis

European Print Industry Snapshot: Austria
European Print Industry Snapshot: Austria

Published: November 17, 2020

In this bimonthly series, WhatTheyThink is presenting the state of the printing industry in different European countries based on the latest monthly production numbers. This week features a look at the printing industry in Austria. Full Analysis

Graphic Arts Employment—October 2020
Graphic Arts Employment—October 2020

Published: November 13, 2020

October 2020 employment figures are at least moving in the right direction from September, albeit slowly; overall printing employment in October was up +0.8% from September, with the gains predominantly in production staff continuing to come back. Let’s not look at year-over-year changes in graphic arts employment. Full Analysis

Folding Paperboard Box Manufacturing Establishments—2010–2018
Folding Paperboard Box Manufacturing Establishments—2010–2018

Published: November 6, 2020

In 2010, there were 491 establishments in NAICS 322212 (Folding Paperboard Box Manufacturing). By 2018, that number had declined to 440, despite a spurt of post-recession growth. In macro news, the BEA’s advance estimate of 3Q GDP saw it increasing +33.1%—a climbing out of Q2’s -31.4% hole. Full Analysis

European Print Industry Snapshot: Spain
European Print Industry Snapshot: Spain

Published: November 3, 2020

In this bimonthly series, WhatTheyThink is presenting the state of the printing industry in different European countries based on the latest monthly production numbers. This week features a look at the printing industry in Spain. Full Analysis

Q2 Profits Unchanged from Q1—But Still Bad
Q2 Profits Unchanged from Q1—But Still Bad

Published: October 30, 2020

Given the lag time in the release of quarterly profits, we have to time travel back to Q2, much as it pains us to do so, where we see that annualized profits for Q2 2020 stayed steady at -$4 billion. Full Analysis

Paperboard Container Manufacturing Establishments—2010–2018
Paperboard Container Manufacturing Establishments—2010–2018

Published: October 23, 2020

In 2010, there were 2,205 establishments in NAICS 32221 (Paperboard Container Manufacturing). By 2018, that number had declined -11% to 1,961. In macro news, the American Institute of Architects’ Architecture Billings Index (ABI) score was up in September. This is a leading indicator for the economy in general, but also for the signage market in particular. Full Analysis

European Print Industry Snapshot: Belgium
European Print Industry Snapshot: Belgium

Published: October 20, 2020

According to the Eurostat production index, the printing industry in Belgium did fairly well in 2019 and even during the COVID-19 crisis in 2020, despite the country being hit hard by the virus. Although production volumes in 2019 were down compared to 2015, Belgium did better than the European Union average in the production index for printing and recorded media. Full Analysis

August Printing Shipments—The Rebound Continues
August Printing Shipments—The Rebound Continues

Published: October 16, 2020

In August 2020, printing shipments rose to $6.90 billion—the third straight month of increasing shipments—and while it’s still well below August 2019’s $7.52 billion, given where we came from, that ain’t bad. Full Analysis

Converted Paper Product Manufacturing Establishments—2010–2018
Converted Paper Product Manufacturing Establishments—2010–2018

Published: October 9, 2020

In 2010, there were 4,128 establishments in NAICS 3222 (Converted Paper Product Manufacturing). By 2018, that number had declined -12% to 3,547. In macro news, the unemployment rate drops, but not entirely for the right reasons. Full Analysis

Q2 Publishing and Advertising Revenues
Q2 Publishing and Advertising Revenues

Published: October 2, 2020

From Q1 to Q2, book, periodical, and newspaper publishers, as well as advertising and related markets, saw quarterly revenues drop, some quite abruptly. For some of these markets, the pandemic only accelerated trends that had been long-ongoing. Full Analysis

Direct Mail Advertising—2010–2018
Direct Mail Advertising—2010–2018

Published: September 25, 2020

In 2010, there were 3,088 establishments in NAICS 54186 (Direct Mail Advertising). By 2018, the number of these establishments had dropped to 2,341. In macro news: initial unemployment claims rise again. Full Analysis

Printing Shipments: Summer’s Almost Gone
Printing Shipments: Summer’s Almost Gone

Published: September 18, 2020

Printing shipments continued to rebound in July, coming in at $6.75 billion, up from June’s $6.63 billion. We remain hopeful, but as we have been seeing lately, we are far from out of the woods virus-wise and we may see shipments start to decline again come the fall. Full Analysis

Outdoor Advertising—2010–2018
Outdoor Advertising—2010–2018

Published: September 11, 2020

In 2010, there were 2,378 establishments in NAICS 54185 (Outdoor Advertising, although until 2012 this category was referred to as “Display Advertising”). Establishments dipped in the mid-2010s, but hit a new peak in 2018 at 2,765 establishments. In macroeconomic news: unemployment is down, but unemployment claims data paint a dark picture. Full Analysis

Retail Sales: A V-Shaped Recovery?
Retail Sales: A V-Shaped Recovery?

Published: September 4, 2020

The Census Bureau recently released its monthly report on retail sales, and after a dramatic plummeting, July retail sales were $536.0 billion, up 1.2% from June (seasonally adjusted), and 2.7% above July 2019. But this may paint a rosier picture of retail than is warranted. Full Analysis

PR Agencies—2010–2018
PR Agencies—2010–2018

Published: August 28, 2020

In 2010, there were 8,219 establishments in NAICS 54182 (Public Relations Agencies). After a slight contraction due to the Great Recession, PR agencies started to grow again, peaking at 8,548 establishments in 2018. In addition, we estimate there were an additional 37,954 freelance or sole proprietor PR agency establishments in 2018. In macro news: Q2 GDP revised up. Full Analysis

Printing Shipments On the Rebound: Will It Last?
Printing Shipments On the Rebound: Will It Last?

Published: August 21, 2020

After a dismal April and May, printing shipments rebounded in June to $6.63 billion. It’s a hopeful sign, but the COVID-19 crisis is far from over. It’s going to be a tense fall. Full Analysis

Advertising Agencies—2010–2018
Advertising Agencies—2010–2018

Published: August 14, 2020

In 2010, there were 13,248 establishments in NAICS 54181 (Advertising Agencies). After a slight contraction due to the Great Recession, agencies started to grow again, peaking at 13,737 establishments in 2018. In addition, we estimate there were an additional 60,994 freelance or sole proprietor agency establishments in 2018. In macro news: initial unemployment claims dip below 1 million. Full Analysis

May Printing Shipments—Now It’s Serious
May Printing Shipments—Now It’s Serious

Published: August 7, 2020

Printing shipments for May 2020 came in at $6.42 billion, down from $6.51 in April and way down from $7.21 billion back in January. This may be as dire as shipments get, but we don’t expect to break $7 billion again for a long while. Full Analysis

Graphic Design Services—2010–2018
Graphic Design Services—2010–2018

Published: July 31, 2020

In 2010, there were 15,390 establishments in NAICS 54143 (Graphic Design Services). After something of a contraction due to the Great Recession, graphic design establishments started to grow again, peaking at 15,776 establishments in 2018. In addition, we estimate there were an additional 119,037 freelance graphic design establishments in 2018. In macro news: GDP falls off the cliff. Full Analysis

Graphic Arts Employment—June 2020
Graphic Arts Employment—June 2020

Published: July 24, 2020

As the song goes, “getting better all the time (can’t get any worse)”: in June 2020, overall printing employment is up +1.1% from May, although down -15.5% from June 2019. So a lot of the April damage is continuing to reverse itself. Full Analysis