Semper’s ‘Industry Insight’ Survey FInds Increase in Printing Sales

BOSTON—Nov. 6, 2012—Semper International, a leading placement firm for skilled help in the graphic arts and printing industry, announces that its “Industry Insight” survey has seen an increase in printing industry sales during the last half of the third quarter of 2012.

“June and July are typically slow months in the industry; this year was no exception,” notes Dave Regan, Semper CEO. “This year, sales were slow through mid-August. Sales didn’t pick up until the Fed announced its third round of quantitative easing in mid-September. Sales are back on track now and we expect a solid quarter—as we saw after the Fed’s second round of quantitative easing, conducted to stimulate the national economy.”

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 Semper corporate partner Cvent. Survey participants include more than 300 small, medium and large printing companies—both clients and prospects of Semper.

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 mixed business trends:

  • 72 percent of companies surveyed reported a profitable third quarter. This represents a three-point decrease from the previous quarter.
  • Companies reporting an increase in “recent” sales (“in the last two weeks”) totaled nearly the same as last quarter. Compared to last quarter, about 13 percent more companies reported a decrease in recent sales.
  • 25 percent of companies expect sales to decrease through the remainder of 2012. Last quarter, only 14 percent expected a sales decrease.
  • The vast majority of respondents indicated that hiring levels will remain the same or increase.
  • Just under half of companies reported that healthcare is the labor cost component that increased the fastest last quarter. Overtime pay, the next largest component, jumped up 7 points, from 13 percent last quarter. Healthcare has remained the fastest growing component of cost for the last 10 quarters.
  • The greatest competitive threat to printers remains largely unchanged from last quarter. The current economy (56 percent) is cited as the biggest threat, followed by growing pressures from lower-cost competitors (27 percent) and operating costs (15 percent). Emerging technology dropped from 10 percent down to 3 percent.
  • Print buyers place the greatest pricing pressure on ink-on-paper printing (47 percent). Pricing pressure on copy jumped up to 8 percent from 2 percent.
  • Referrals (44 percent) continue to be the most popular way to find employees. Social networks (14 percent) rose in popularity this quarter.
  • Respondents cite increased anxiety (20 percent) as the number one way the economy has affected them.

To participate in future surveys, please email More information is available at 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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