Any Signs of Spring Yet?

By Andrew Paparozzi
In March 19, 2009

The latest consensus forecast (March 2009) from Blue Chip Economic Indicators shows the economy as measured by inflation-adjusted GDP declining 2.6% in 2009—the steepest annual drop since the 11.0% plunge in 1946, as the economy wound down from its World War II footing. The drop in the consensus forecast clearly depicts a serious and painful recession. However, as we mentioned in our posting to close out 2008, be on the look out for the early signs of recovery—stabilization.

Green shoots, tree buds, and chirping birds are the early signs of spring, and as is true every year about this time, they’re coming out on cue. Unfortunately, economic recovery isn’t as consistent or automatic. Nonetheless, are we beginning to see those early signs of stabilization? There just may be some. The latest data on retail sales indicate that consumer retrenchment may be nearing its low point. Data on consumer and producer prices continue to suggest that we are not about to plunge into a deflationary spiral. Declines in industrial production are subsiding.

Okay, we see some signs of stabilization in the economy, what about print? Data from the NAPL Printing
Business Panel remain quite subdued—in fact, downright nasty. However, the percentage of the Panel that sees business conditions improving over the next six months is inching up; totaling over 15% in March compared to under 10% in December 2008. Furthermore, more than one in five companies responded yes when asked, Are you seeing any (no matter how minor) encouraging signs? Remember, because of structural change, recoveries are no longer inclusive—in fact they’re going to be more and more exclusive. The sooner we get prepared for recovery, the better. If you’re still not clear on the whole concept of structural change, see Chapter 6 in the NAPL State of the Industry Report, Seventh Edition.

Andrew Paparozzi                        Joseph
Vincenzino
                        Kong
Lue Wang

Andrew Paparozzi

Epicomm's Andrew Paparozzi, Vice President/Chief Economist, is well-known for his accurate and thoughtful discussions on the economy and US commercial printing industry. A foremost author and speaker on economic business trends in the printing industry, Paparozzi heads Epicomm's Printing Economic Research Center.

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