PIA Research Tracks Changing Structure of the U.S. Printing Industry
Press release from the issuing company
ALEXANDRIA, VIRGINIA (July 10, 2001) – Analysis of data conducted by the A.F. Lewis Company and provided to the Printing Industries of America (PIA), Incorporated, reveals that the U.S. graphic arts industry is undergoing significant structural changes in recent years.
From 1993 to 2000 the number of U.S. printing plants declined from 54,462 to 47,667, a 12.5 percent decrease. Most of the decrease was in plants with less than ten employees. Larger sized plants (more that 100 employees) increased in numbers during the study period. As a result of these changes the average plant size in the industry rose steadily from 17.1 employees in 1993 to 25.5 employees in 2000.
In 1993 printing plants with less than ten employees made up 71.2 percent of all printing plants. By 2000, these smaller plants composed only 60.4 percent of the total. In contrast, in 1993 there were less than 500 plants with more that 250 employees. By 2000 there were 727 of these larger plants.
Larger printing plants are particularly dominant in three print market segments – magazine and periodical printing, book printing, and financial and legal printing. Plants with 100 or more employees produce over 80 percent of the output in these segments. In contrast, there are three sectors, quick printing, trade binding, and general commercial printing, where a majority of shipments in are produced by plants with less than 100 employees.
According to Dr. Ron Davis, PIA’s chief economist, "the evolving economic structure of the graphic arts industry is consistent with an industry as it matures. Industries go through various phases in their lives. Right now the printing industry, while still a very vibrant and growing sector, is growing at a pace slower than the overall economy. Through mergers and acquisitions, plant closings and a reduction in the number of new printing firms, the total number of plants is declining and the average plant size is increasing. While this trend will continue, the industry will still be characterized by thousands of entrepreneurial run, smaller, owner managed printing companies competing with medium and larger size firms for the foreseeable future."
Percentage of All Shipments Produced by Plants with more than 100 Employees
Industry Segment 2000
Magazine Printing 88.9%
Book Printing 88.5%
Financial, Legal Printing 81.0%
Package Printing 56.5%
Business Forms Printing 58.8%
Label, Wrapper Printing 59.0%
Trade Binding 36.1%
General Commercial Printing 46.4%
Quick Printing 8.7%
Total U.S. Printing 57.6%
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