The National Association for Printing Leadership’s (NAPL) Printing Business Index (PBI), the graphic communications industry trade association’s broadest measure of print activity, rose to 59.1 in March 2006 from 56.5 in February and 55.9 in January.
A reading above 50.0 means more printers report activity is picking up than report activity is slowing down. Gains in pricing, work-on-hand, hiring and hiring plans account for the increase.
Commercial printing industry sales also increased in the first months of 2006, up 8.5 percent in February and 5.9 in January, compared to previous year levels.
“Some of the gains are real – business has clearly accelerated over the last six months,” noted Andrew Paparozzi, NAPL vice president and chief economist. “However, much of the increase is cost pass-through – and we still don’t have enough pricing power to fully protect margins from all the cost inflation that continues to come our way.”
The PBI combines input from NAPL’s Printing Business Panel about work-on-hand, current business conditions, expected business conditions (confidence), hiring plans, profitability and other key indicators into a single measure of activity. The NAPL Printing Business Panel is a representative group of more than 300 printers that the association surveys monthly on a range of key issues.
The economic analysis comes from NAPL’s Printing Economic Research Center (PERC) which produces research and publications sponsored by Heidelberg, Kennesaw, GA.
NAPL is a not-for-profit trade association serving companies in the graphic communications industry. For more information, contact NAPL: (201) 634-9600, (800) 642-6275; fax: (201) 634-0324;web: www.napl.org.
Printing Industries of America Reacts to U.S. Postal Service Rate Hike
The Printing Industries of America (PIA) reacted to the United States Postal Services’ (USPS) recent announcement of a significant planned postal rate increase to take effect in 2007, noting in a letter to Congressional leaders that the USPS move is another indicator that the nation is operating under several outdated postal laws.
PIA also stated that a legislative overhaul is needed to keep the mailing industry – which accounts for 9 percent of America’s GDP – viable in the future.
“The new proposed rate hike is another pocketbook reminder for business and individual consumers that the USPS is a 21st century entity operating under laws that do not allow for current communications trends, the Internet Age, increasing costs of health and labor benefits for USPS employees and retirees and other modern-day marketplace realities,” said Lisbeth Lyons, vice president of government affairs for PIA. “Under the leadership of Senator Susan Collins, Senator Tom Carper, Representative Tom Davis and Representative Henry Waxman, Congress is on the cusp of approving the first major overhaul of postal laws in 36 years. While bipartisan bills that passed overwhelmingly in both chambers do not solve all problems associated with postal reform, they do take great strides to improve the current situation. Now, especially in light of the USPS announcement, is the time for Congress to complete this important legislative work.”
Key provisions in the Senate- and House-passed postal bills address problems in payments for postal employee pensions. They also tie future rate increases to the consumer price index to provide more predictability and affordability for mailing economy. The printing industry is a key segment within the $900 billion mailing economy, which includes paper, publishing, financial services, direct marketing, retail and manufacturing industries, as well as general small business.
For more information contact PIA, (703) 519-8100; web: www.gain.net.