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US Commercial Printing Forecast to 2020; What is the Right Role for Forecasting Models?

By on February 22nd, 2015 - Comment

Now that 2014’s US commercial printing shipments data have been released, we ran our forecasting models to get a peek at where the trendlines to 2020 are headed. We use three basic statistical models, plus a regression model that uses real GDP as the independent variable. The original data are from the US Department of…

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Are the Stock Indexes Really at All-Time Highs? Does It Matter?

By on February 21st, 2015 - Comment

Are stock indexes at all time highs? Finally, the S&P 500 has broken through its inflation-adjusted all-time high of March 2000, closing on Friday, February 20 at 2110.3. The Dow broke through a while ago, and is now 11% above its January 2000 high. The Russell 2000 has been above its all-time high, and since…

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Industry Capital Investment Rate Increasing Since Recession

By on February 19th, 2015 - Comment

The rate of capital investment as a percentage of sales has increased steadily since the economic recovery began in 2009. In 2010, the industry invested at the rate of 2.9% as a percentage of sales. For each of the years since, with 2013 being the most recent year for which data are available, the percentage…

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2014 Printing Employment Revised to Slower Decrease; US Employment Improves Again

By on February 11th, 2015 - Comment

Last week’s unemployment report was generally viewed as positive, even though the unemployment rate rose from 5.6% to 5.7%. Extended to an additional decimal point, the actual difference was a change from 5.56% to 5.71%. There was good reason to view it as one of the better reports of late. But overall, it was more…

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Manufacturing Indicators Retreat; Small Business Moves Forward

By on February 4th, 2015 - Comment

Recovery indicators in manufacturing continued to retreat in the ISM manufacturing report, in concert with news earlier this week from the Commerce Department that showed five months consecutive decline for factory orders. Non-manufacturing orders rose slightly, but imports continued to pull back. (click chart to enlarge) The ISM new orders for manufacturing and non-manufacturing are…

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2014 US Commercial Printing Rebounds from Poor First Half with Positive Third and Fourth Quarters

By on February 4th, 2015 - Comment

The US commercial printing industry rebounded from a poor start to 2014, finishing nearly even with 2013, up +0.2% in current dollars, at $77.8 billion. Decembers shipments were strong, up +3.7% compared to 2013. It was the first positive December since 2010. At that time, however, current shipments were more that $7 billion; December 2014…

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Q4-2014 GDP +2.6%, Weaker than Expectations, Yet Weaker in the Details

By on January 30th, 2015 - Comment

GDP was up again, and but fell into the longer term range of year-to-year changes as highlighted in our chart (click to enlarge). The third quarter’s 5% level could not be sustained. We have been concerned for more than a year about the distortions that changes in inventories have had on headline GDP reports. Inventories…

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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 - 2 Comments

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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