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NAPL Business Update Reports Pause in Print Recovery from Recession

Press release from the issuing company

More Surveyed Printers Report Business Slowdown PARAMUS, NJ, July 2, 2002 -- Print’s recovery from the recession has paused, reports the National Association for Printing Leadership (NAPL), the trade association for the commercial printing industry, in the Summer 2002 issue of its quarterly Economic Edge newsletter. Among the 300+ printers surveyed monthly by the NAPL Printing Economic Research Center, fewer now report that business is picking up, while more report business is slowing down. Two respondents report decreasing work-on-hand for every one reporting the opposite. Concurrently, the NAPL Printing Business Index” (PBI”), a comprehensive measure of printing activity, has slipped to its lowest level in four months. NAPL Vice President and Chief Economist Andrew Paparozzi notes, however, that none of the data means that the industry's recovery is in jeopardy. "Barring a setback in the war on terrorism," he says, "print sales will strengthen progressively with the economy and advertising over the next 12 months. Print sales this year will grow just 2.2% to 3.4%, with most of the growth delayed until fall. Next year, industry sales will grow as much as 7.3%." According to participants in NAPL's State of the Industry Survey, printing companies see the biggest obstacles to industry growth as ineffective marketing, a shortage of skilled sales personnel, operating inefficiencies, poor productivity, and the challenge of convincing clients that printers can do far more than printing. The NAPL Printing Business Index The pause in the printing industry’s recovery from recession is reflected in the NAPL Printing Business Index (PBI”), the association's most comprehensive measure of printing industry activity. As the graph below shows, the PBI slipped to 48.8 in May, from 53.6 in April. Even with May's dip, the PBI is still up 22.3% since January, 45.3% since last October's record low, and 28.1% since May 2001. Notwithstanding a major disruption of confidence in the economy, PBI readings above 50.0 should be the norm during the second half of 2002. NAPL developed its unique 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. NAPL’s Economic Edge is written and prepared by the NAPL Printing Economic Research Center and is published quarterly by the National Association for Printing Leadership with monthly supplements available to corporate members and members of the NAPL Printing Business Panel. The NAPL Printing Business Panel comprises a representative group of over 300 printers who are surveyed monthly on sales and confidence, and quarterly on a range of key printing industry issues. Since the same companies are surveyed for every report, the data are strictly comparable from period to period. Input from the Panel is supplemented by more than 50 indicators of national business activity as well as macroeconomic data. Further information about NAPL economic research programs may be obtained by contacting Mr. Paparozzi at the NAPL Printing Economic Research Center at [email protected] About NAPL Chartered in 1933, NAPL is a not-for-profit trade association representing the $88 billion commercial printing industry. NAPL’s mission is "To enable the printing community to profit from change" through a full range of management and educational services to its membership. In addition to on-site training at its Center for Professional Development in Paramus, New Jersey, and Management Institute (MI) courses held at Northwestern University, NAPL offers consulting services as well as an annual Top Management Conference (TMC) recognized as a leading industry source of strategic ideas.