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Industry Churn: How Our Industry Adjusts and Renews Itself, by the Numbers

By on January 26th, 2015 - Comment

Data are finally available about the birth and deaths of printing industry establishments… for 2011. Sure, that was a few years ago, but the data are consistent with historical patterns. They are useful in helping us understand “industry churn” and how our industry disposes of weak companies and how stronger ones prevail. First, keep in…

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Dr. Joe Finds Rare Species: A Printer at the Triangle American Marketing Association Luncheon

By on January 21st, 2015 - 1 Comment

I was at the Triangle AMA luncheon last week in Raleigh, NC, and I was “shocked” to meet a printer. It has been a long-standing antic of mine to post on Twitter that I would pay for the lunch for a printer I saw at an AMA luncheon, stating that “my money was safe.” I…

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Latest Inflation Multipliers: What “Gone With the Wind” and”Avatar” Teach Us About Money

By on January 20th, 2015 - Comment

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics released the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for December, and it ended the year at +0.8% compared to December 2013. The primary reason for the decline in prices is the sharp drop in oil prices. This is eerily similar to the decline of oil prices in 2008, but that discussion…

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Since 2004, USPS Prices +38%, Consumer Prices +27%, Printing Prices +13%, Computers -44%, Wireless Communications -37%; What’s It All Mean?

By on January 19th, 2015 - 4 Comments

The Bureau of Labor Statistics has reported inflation levels for 2014, and the data show the divergence of digital and hard media in a very stark manner. The Consumer Price Index (CPI) was up 0.8% for 2014, cooling off at the end of the year with the drop in energy prices. (A separate analysis of…

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Printing Employment Falls; Agency Employment Up; National Employment Rate Improves to 5.6%

By on January 13th, 2015 - Comment

US commercial printing employment decreased -1.4% in 2014, a decrease of -6,199 workers. A key demand segment for the industry, periodicals (mainly magazines), fell below 100,000 employees in 2014, a level not seen since 1986. The segment fell -7.9% in the year. (click chart to enlarge) Content creation segments were much better; full year data…

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January to November 2014 Printing Shipments Nearly Even with 2013

By on January 7th, 2015 - Comment

US commercial printing shipments made their third strong showing in a row, and fifth positive month since May. Compared to November 2013, shipments were up by $171 million, or +2.7%. On an inflation-adjusted basis, shipments were up +$113 million, or +1.7%. For the January to November period, shipments are nearly even with 2013, down just…

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Recovery Indicators Slammed After Upbeat Q3 GDP Revision

By on January 7th, 2015 - Comment

The recovery indicators took a hard body blow last month as the NASDAQ and the ISM indicators all retreated. One of the ISM measures, imports by non-manufacturing businesses, fell below the level it was when the recession started in December 2007. Proprietors’ income was reduced slightly in the Q3 GDP revision.  (click chart to enlarge)…

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Profits Retreat in Q3

By on December 18th, 2014 - Comment

Q3-2014 US commercial printing profits were $1.15 billion, down -12.9% compared to Q3-2014. Q3-2013 was the most recent peak of quarterly profits. The 4-quarter inflation-adjusted profits were $3.45 billion, up +15.1% for that period. The 4-quarter total profits most recent high was $4.12 billion for all of 2013. Since that time, the 4-quarter moving total…

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Ad Agency Revenues Rise While Publishing Revenues are Not

By on December 16th, 2014 - Comment

Advertising agency revenues have risen from the inflation-adjusted annual rate of $80.6 billion to $115.1 billion in the last five years. This is not annual spending on advertising in the economy, but the amount of revenues that agencies get from commissions, fees, and their creative and management services.  The chart below shows the changes (click…

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China’s GDP is Now Largest in the World: But What Does that Mean?

By on December 10th, 2014 - 1 Comment

China’s rise on the economic stage is remarkable. The country is in a vast and sometimes traumatic transformation, with political and philosophical tugs of war underway culturally, socially, and economically. The topics of trade and fairness and freedom are always in the news, but I would rather focus on what the GDP number tells us:…

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