Slide May Have Hit Rock Bottom

PARAMUS, NJ—While there are signs the recession may have bottomed out, it seems that the printing industry is still experiencing a sales dropoff of historic proportions. According to the NAPL Printing Business Conditions report, the industry experienced the steepest slide for any three-month period in the 20-plus years it has tracked the industry.
Further, the NAPL offered little hope for a meaningful industry rebound in 2009, a year that is projected to record an all-time decline in sales of 8 to 12 percent. More than nine in 10 NAPL Printing Business Panel members reported their sales fell in the first quarter, with 71.1 percent reporting a decline of at least 10 percent, and 42 percent noting a decline of at least 20 percent.

Still, brighter days may not be far off. Other key NAPL business indicators paint the first quarter as rock bottom.

About one-fifth of companies surveyed reported that business improved in April, up significantly from 8.7 percent in March, while less than half (49.2 percent) indicated that business slowed, down from 74.7 percent in March. It was the first time both indicators moved in these directions since September 2007, according to the NAPL.