Semper International, a placement firm for skilled help in the graphic arts and printing industry, reports a significant jump in the percentage of companies reporting profitability over the last quarter. Nearly 81% of companies reported a profitable Q2 2014.
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. Semper revamped its survey last quarter, creating a more stylized report and offering more in-depth analysis.
“The improvements we made last quarter are showing results. Our pool of respondents increased, giving us even greater accuracy in our findings.” said David Regan, CEO, Semper International.
“This quarter the data suggests that the economic tide is turning. We’ve been watching for signs for years and now we finally see all the factors pointing in the same direction. Profitability, revenue, sales projections and hiring all indicate we’re moving toward a new economic cycle,” Regan added.
The survey offers fourteen critical insights that Semper saw in the survey data. Insights include:
• Those companies reporting revenue growth saw near double-digit percentage point growth in the second quarter.
• More than two-thirds of responding companies expect sales to grow in the upcoming quarter. At the same time, only 5% expect a decrease in sales.
• 81% of survey respondents reported a profitable third quarter - an 8-point increase quarter over quarter.
• 67% of companies expect sales to increase through the remainder of Q3.
• Emerging from the trend lines is also an indication that the economy (34%) is becoming less of a threat than it was during the deep end of the recession. In fact, for the third quarter in a row, more than half of reporting firms cited something other than the economy as their top concern, as lower priced competitors (20%), rising operating costs (17%) and technical upgrade expenses (12%) are also coming to the fore.
• 33% of respondents indicated that hiring levels will increase—a slight increase from last quarter. Reduction in staff dropped 7 points to just 5%.
• Healthcare remains the fastest growing labor cost component, according to 40% of respondents. Base pay (25%) continues to increase.
• Use of online ads for staffing jumped last quarter while internal referrals dropped.