Semper International: Q1 Survey Data Reinforce that Printing Industry Is Rebounding
BOSTON—February 6, 2015—The New Year has brought some welcome changes to the print and marketing economies. Several straight quarters of positive signals have finally blossomed—Semper’s First Quarter data reveals a portrait of an industry back in bloom.
Coming into 2015, our company respondents reported record-setting profitability of 85 percent and sustained sales growth for five straight quarters. Even more good news: One-third of firms reported new sales growth in the first two weeks of 2015!
Here are some of the most exciting data in early 2015:
- Nearly 60 percent of companies saw sales grow in the past quarter —the fifth straight quarter of such growth.
- 85 percent of companies reported a profitable fourth quarter of 2014, which adds up to nine straight months of profits for more than 80 percent of our respondents.
- One-third of companies saw increased sales in the first two weeks of 2015, and they remain bullish on their economic prospects with nearly two-thirds expecting sales to grow in the next quarter.
Another telltale sign that the economy is surging is our capital investment data for this quarter. The number of companies funneling money into their equipment soared this month to 38 percent—a 37 percent increase in just three months.
While some companies remain concerned about profitability pressures and new healthcare costs associated with the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the sustained strength of our data over the past nine months indicates the industry is–finally–sitting in a healthy position for growth.
Semper International would like to again thank Printing Impressions for helping us support this free endeavor that supports our industry, specifically by distributing the survey to its users. It was heartening to see the increase in participation from larger companies and Semper looks forward to our continued partnership.
Looking Ahead: What This Means for Talent and Staffing
It is our pleasure to welcome the Printing Impressions team as a partner in our survey efforts. We feel it’s important to bring you the best survey possible, and our combined strengths will even further enhance our gift to the community.
“We are excited to partner with Semper International to bring our expertise and audience to their deep longitudinal survey,” noted Mark Michelson, editorial director/editor-in-chief of Printing Impressions. As in past quarters, this year’s data highlights some fascinating developments among our ranks, including dramatically improved profit and sales numbers, and a renewed focus on corporate infrastructure investment and diversification.”
“This was a great quarter to launch a partnership, as the results indicate a surge back to profitability and growth of our respondents after so many lean years,” added David Regan, CEO of Semper International.
Hiring has crept up over the past several quarters, reaching a high of 38 percent in the fourth quarter, and dipping slightly back to 35 percent at the beginning of the year. Smart observers might notice that the same pattern emerged in our capital investments data, which suddenly hit a tipping point this quarter and rose almost 40 percent.
At Semper, we are already seeing the talent market tighten, with less idle talent available and more competition among companies to attract top employees, particularly among skilled talent. As scarcity increases, companies are also turning towards alternative staffing sources—specifically Flex staffing, which rose 53 percent this quarter alone. For companies looking to supplement their internal resources, flexible, outsourced talent who provide pinpointed skills or other seasonal functions may be the way to go. As concerns over how to pay for ACA costs continue to rise, we expect this specialization to grow even more pronounced.
New labor shortages are also throwing our training and retention processes into relief. It is becoming clearer and clearer that our industry needs to do a better job of attracting and retaining workers. Pay, benefits and training are the best ways to do so. We may also need to look for new pools of transferable talent to help fill in the gaps.
To download the complete Semper First Quarter Insight Survey, click here: http://resources.semperllc.com/quarterly-survey/2015-q1/