Printing Not the Only Industry Suffering
While the printing industry has been hit hard by the economic downturn, it is by no means alone. Based on data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Manufacturers’ Shipments, Inventories, & Orders report, printing was one of 10 major manufacturing groups in which shipments fell in 2008. However, printing’s 3.9 percent decline for the year was not the worst, points out NAPL's Printing Economic Research Center (PERC). Seven other industries recorded steeper declines, with textile products (-12.3 percent) and transportation equipment (-10.3 percent) topping the list. Total manufacturing shipments were up 2 percent for the year.
Printing industry shipments were down 5.9 percent December over December, significant but not the steepest decline among manufacturers. Lower prices have contributed to the decline in manufacturing shipments and other economic activities. This is evident most in petroleum and coal shipments, which recorded the steepest decline—47.7 percent— between December 2007 and December 2008.
But sour business conditions and disappearing demand get the lion’s share of the blame. This is certainly true for printing: Nearly 76 percent of the NAPL Printing Business Panel report business conditions slowed in January 2009 and 27 percent report conditions slowed “a lot.”