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Print Sales Grow for Two Consecutive Months, Moving Slow Recovery Along

Press release from the issuing company

Paramus, N.J., January 9, 2003 – Despite some steep declines in key printing industry indicators, there are signs that the long-awaited economic recovery is making steady—if excruciatingly slow—progress. Sales rose 3.0% in October and 4.1% in September for the Printing Business Panel of the National Association for Printing Leadership (NAPL). Previously, sales had declined 15 consecutive months and hadn’t increased two consecutive months in nearly two years. The economic analysis comes from NAPL’s Printing Economics Research Center (PERC), which produces research and publications sponsored by Heidelberg, Kennesaw, Ga. “Business is clearly improving,” says Andrew Paparozzi, NAPL vice president and chief economist, noting, however, that “recent sales gains owe much to the fact that figures are being compared to year-earlier results, when we had deeply depressed, post-September 11 results.” The NAPL Printing Business Indexs, the Association’s most comprehensive measure of print activity, slipped to 49.4% in November from 52.7% in October and 54.1% in September. Several components of the index declined, including work-on-hand, up in November for just 14.7% of the printers surveyed by NAPL and down for 30.4%. However, overall trends are pointing upward. “What’s important is the trend, not the blip,” says Paparozzi. “Before this decrease, the PBI had been above the 50.0 mark for three consecutive months. That’s the point at which more printers report activity is picking up than report activity is slowing down. Moreover, our Index is still up 23.7% since January 2002 and 34.8% since last November. It’s hardly boom to bust, but combined with the rising sales performance, that’s progress. Barring a setback in our war on terrorism, the progress will continue throughout 2003.” The NAPL Printing Business Indexs The NAPL PBI combines input from the Association’s Printing Business Panel about work-on-hand, current business conditions, expected business conditions (confidence), hiring plans, profitability, and other key indicators into a single measure of activity. The NAPL Printing Business Panel is a representative group of more than 300 printers which the Association surveys monthly on a range of key printing issues. Since the same companies are surveyed every time, data are strictly comparable from period to period.