Semper International, a placement firm for skilled help in the graphic arts and printing industry, reports industry stagnation as the fourth quarter begins.
“Every sector of the economy has felt the effects of government mismanagement. From sequester to the recent government shutdown, the government’s lack of activity is hurting people. Semper is in the unique position of seeing the pain from both sides of the coin. We see companies struggling to keep their doors open, and we see jobseekers struggling to put food on the table and keep a roof over their heads.” notes Dave Regan, CEO Semper International. “We need Washington to step up and provide the stability and incentives businesses need to see to start hiring and investing. It's the only way we're going to get the economy moving again.”
The most recent survey indicates positive outlook and improved sales:
• 71% of companies surveyed reported a profitable Q3. This represents a 3 point increase over second quarter.
• 42% of survey respondents reported an increase in revenue over last quarter.
• Looking at the two weeks before the survey was taken, 34% of companies reported an increase in current sales, matching data from the third quarter survey.
• 40% of companies expect sales to increase through the remainder of Q4, 2013 while 36% expect sales to stay the same. Last quarter 56% expected a sales increase and 30% expected sales to stay the same.
• The vast majority of respondents indicated that hiring levels will remain the same or increase, nearly the same as last quarter.
• Just under half of companies reported that healthcare is still the labor cost component that increased the fastest last quarter. Healthcare has remained the fastest growing component of cost for the last 15 quarters. Overtime, the next largest component, rose 12 points from last quarter. This increase in overtime could be an indicator that some segments are so unsure of the economy they are forcing overtime to avoid the hiring process - an expensive bet in the mid-term.
• The greatest competitive threat to printers remains largely unchanged from last quarter. The current economy (52%) is the largest threat, exceeding price pressures from lower cost competitors (19%), and emerging technology (11%).
• Not surprising, print buyers place the greatest pricing pressure on ink to substrate printing (46%).
• Referrals (40%) continue to be the most popular way to find employees. Use of flexible staffing increased 5 points to 15%.
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 is not screened. To preserve confidentiality, individual company information is not part of the tabulation.