Semper Finds a Boost in Optimism Among Printers Surveyed

BOSTON—April 24, 2012—In its latest quarterly market survey, Semper International (a leading placement firm for skilled help for graphic arts and printing companies) found that industry sales foundered during late February and March, but bounced back in April, creating optimism about revenues in the coming months.

“Responses show a slight decrease in the percentage of companies experiencing profitability, less than 2 points compared to last quarter. Close to half of the respondents (41 precent) saw an increase in sales during the last two weeks of the quarter,” notes Dave Regan, CEO of Semper. “Traditionally, the spring is a busy time, and the marketplace expects the annual jump in sales.”

“The general economic climate is still the top competitive threat. Rising gas prices and worries about the international community have taken their toll,” continues Regan.

Since February 2003, Semper 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 the firm’s corporate partner Cvent.

Survey participants include more than 300 small-, medium- and large-size 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.

The most recent survey indicates some positive business trends:

  • 53 percent of companies expect sales to improve in the second quarter of 2012, a 13-point increase from respondents who expected an improvement in first-quarter sales.
  • 41 percent of respondents reported that their revenue had increased during the quarter.
  • The number of companies planning to hire has been rising for the last three quarters—20 percent of respondents have plans to hire in the upcoming quarter.
  • The number of companies expecting layoffs has decreased for the fifth straight quarter.
  • While “ink to substrate” slightly declined as the most significant area of pricing pressure (mentioned by 47 percent of respondents), digital print (33 percent) and marketing (9 percent) are increasing. TechCreative, a blend of creative graphic design skills and prepress/premedia skills, was a new option in the questionnaire—6.4 percent of respondents cited TechCreative as their most pressured segment.
  • The vast majority of respondents (64 percent) cited healthcare as the component of labor costs that is growing the fastest. Base pay (17 percent) and overtime (7 percent) were the next largest categories.

To participate in future surveys, please email More information is available on the Semper International website.

About Semper
Semper International is a temporary help placement firm founded and staffed by professionals who were raised and trained in the printing and graphic arts industry, and who understand the innate needs and demands of the profession. Semper has a thorough understanding of all the positions, equipment, and software essential to the business, which assures a perfect employee – employer match.

Source: Semper.

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