Print Industry Survey Reports Increase in Industry Sales

Semper International, the leading placement firm for skilled help in the graphic arts and printing industry, announces its print Industry Insight survey has seen an industry sales increase during the last half of third quarter of 2012.

Since February 2003, Semper International has provided a quarterly survey offering estimates of trends in the printing and graphics industries. To prevent bias, survey questions—both qualitative and quantitative—are designed by Semper corporate partner Cvent. Survey participants include more than 300 small, medium, and large printing companies; both clients and prospects of Semper International. Participants provide data on revenue and hiring as well as estimated outlooks on future trends. Data is requested from a random sample and is not screened. To preserve confidentiality, individual company information is not part of the tabulation.

"June and July are typically slow months in the industry. This year was no exception," notes Dave Regan, CEO Semper International. "This year, sales were slow through mid-August. Sales didn't pick up until the Fed announced its third round of quantitative easing in mid-September. Sales are back on track now and we expect a solid quarter—as we saw after Fed's second round of quantitative easing, conducted to stimulate the national economy."

The most recent survey indicates mixed business trends:
+ 72 percent of companies surveyed reported a profitable Q3. This represents a 3-point decrease over last quarter.

+ Companies reporting an increase in 'recent' sales ("in the last two weeks") are nearly the same as last quarter. Compared to last quarter, about 13 percent more companies reported a decrease in recent sales.

+ 25 percent of companies expect sales to decrease through the remainder of Q4, 2012. Last quarter, only 14 percent expected a sales decrease.

+ The vast majority of respondents indicated that hiring levels will remain the same or increase.

+ Just under half of companies reported that healthcare is the labor cost component that increased the fastest last quarter. Overtime, the next largest component, jumped up seven points, from 13 percent last quarter. Healthcare has remained the fastest growing component of cost for the last ten quarters.

+ The greatest competitive threat to printers remains largely unchanged from last quarter. The current economy (56 percent) is the biggest threat, growing pressures from lower cost competitors (27 percent) and operating costs (15 percent). Emerging technology dropped from 10 percent down to 3 percent.

+ Print buyers place the greatest pricing pressure on ink to substrate printing (47 percent). Pricing pressure on copy jumped up to 8 percent from 2 percent.

+ Referrals (44 percent) continue to be the most popular way to find employees. Social networks (14 percent) rose in popularity this quarter.

+ Respondents cite increased anxiety (20 percent) as the number one way the economy has affected them.
More information is available at the Semper International Web site.


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