PARAMUS, NJ, May 15, 2002 —The National Association for Printing Leadership (NAPL), the trade association for the commercial printing industry, has issued its April Printing Business Conditions Report citing encouraging steadiness last month in key NAPL printing business indicators. The report notes that the industry is holding on to gains made since the first of the year, and underscores that the recovery will continue to move in fits and starts until the economy and ad spending hit full stride late this year.
The steadiness was reflected in the NAPL Printing Business Index (PBI), the association's most comprehensive measure of printing industry activity. It edged up to 53.4 in April, from 53.0 in March, but still significantly higher than January's 39.9 reading. The PBI has risen substantially since last October when it hit a record low 33.4 reading and, for the first time since fall 2000, has held above the 50.0 mark for two consecutive months. A PBI reading above 50.0 signifies that more printers report business is picking up than report business is slowing down. Conversely, an index reading below 50.0 indicates the opposite condition.
NAPL Vice President and Chief Economist Andrew Paparozzi commented, "The collapse of corporate profits and advertising made this recession much harder on the printing industry than on the economy at large. The Blue Chip consensus expects corporate profits to strengthen gradually over the next six months. As a result, we expect print sales to grow as much as 5.0% from July through December and as much as 7.5% next year. For all of 2002, sales will grow 2.1% to 3.3%, in contrast to last year when print sales fell 3.7%."
The NAPL Printing Business Index
NAPL developed the Printing Business Index (PBI) as a comprehensive measure of printing activity that includes critical metrics such as current business conditions, expected future business conditions (confidence), work-on-hand, hiring plans, and pre-tax profitability. A PBI reading above 50.0 means that more printers report that activity is picking up than report that activity is slowing down. A PBI reading below 50.0 reflects the opposite situation.
As the graph below indicates, the PBI rose to 53.4 in April 2002 and, for the first time since fall 2000, has held above the 50.0 mark for two consecutive months. The PBI has now risen for six consecutive months.
NAPL’s Printing Business Conditions Special Update includes information on printing industry sales and profitability, as well as macroeconomic data for the national economy. Available to NAPL members only, the update report is published six times a year by NAPL’s Printing Economic Research Center. Members may obtain copies of the report free of charge by calling NAPL at 800-642-6275, Option #3, or through the NAPL website at www.napl.org.
Further information about NAPL economics research programs may be obtained by contacting Mr. Paparozzi at the NAPL Printing Economic Research Center at [email protected]