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Semper report shows increased sales, slowed hiring



Published November 8, 2011
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Semper International of Boston, MA, USA, a placement firm for skilled help in the graphic arts and printing industry, announces that the printing industry is pessimistic about future growth and hiring continues to stagnate.

Since February 2003, Semper International 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 International. Participants provide data on revenue and hiring as well as estimated outlooks on future trends. Data is requested from a random sample and are not screened. To preserve confidentiality, individual company information is not part of the tabulation.

"Responses show a continued slow down overall. The number of respondents reporting decreased sales is on the rise," notes Dave Regan, CEO of Semper International. "The election season is upon us. Government gridlock will hamper the Fed's ability to respond."

"Margin pressure is severe throughout the industry. Traditional ink to substrate printing is becoming a bigger profit center for companies, but downward pressure on pricing throughout the industry is preventing thse increases needed to curb pessimism and stagnation."

The most recent survey indicates more negative business trends:

· 61% of companies surveyed reported a profitable Q3. Profitability has decreased every quarter, but this is the smallest quarterly drop (4%) this year.

· Looking at the first two weeks of Q4, 2011 the number of respondents reporting an increase in sales is up almost 5 percentage points.

· 20% of the companies interviewed expected sales to decrease through the remainder of Q4, 2011, the same as last quarter.

· Nearly 80% of respondents indicated that hiring levels will remain the same. These results were up 11% from last quarter. The number of companies laying off employees has been trending upward very slightly over the last year.

· For the seventh straight quarter, a large majority of companies reported that healthcare is the labor cost component that increased the fastest during the past quarter. Although healthcare remains a concern, it is decreasing in importance. Overtime pay is a significant concern this quarter with 23% of respondents reporting an increase in concern.

· The greatest competitive threat to printers remains the current economic climate. Respondents reporting threats from lower cost competitors jumped 53%.

· Ink to substrate is the respondents' primary profit center. Digital print was the primary profit center in the Q2 and Q3 surveys.

· Referrals (43%) from internal staff and online searches (35%) continue to be the most popular ways to find employees.

To participate in future surveys, please email always@semoperllc.com. More information is available at the Semper International website.


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