By Dr. Joe Webb on May 3rd, 2013
US commercial printing shipments for the first quarter were down -$42 million compared to 2012 (-0.22%), at $19.3 billion. Q1 shipments may have been distorted by a strong January, likely caused by delayed buying by small businesses as they delayed purchases in tax planning efforts in December 2012.
March 2013 shipments were $6.771 billion, down -$163 million, or -2.4% compared to 2012 (-3.8% after inflation). Both February and March had similar comparisons, raising concerns of a negative pattern emerging for the rest of the year.
The US Commerce Department will make major revisions, as they do every year, to their manufacturing data series. The revisions are released in mid-May. Last year, the revision changed the peak month in commercial print seasonality to May, rather than March or October. We will be carefully examining their revisions in this regard, as a May peak month did not hold up to analytical scrutiny. When the Commerce Department makes its revisions, most are for the last three calendar years, with minor changes to another three or four years beyond that. We will report on the net effect of those changes as soon as possible.
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