It’s Finally Over—What’s Next?

By Andrew Paparozzi
In November 10, 2008

The seemingly endless campaign to elect the 44th President of the United States is finally over. All the speculation about personnel and policies of the new administration has already begun. Will President-elect Obama’s positions remain close to his campaign rhetoric, or will existing realities shape policy? We’ll find out soon enough over the next several months. However, here’s one of the realities we need not speculate about.

The latest labor market report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) shows that the employment picture has deteriorated sharply, with nonfarm payrolls shedding 240,000 positions in October. The loss comes on top of a 284,000 decline in September. Thus, almost half of the 1.2 million or 0.9% job loss in 2008 has come in the last two months. The relative decline in manufacturing jobs was even greater, down 3.6% overall and 4.5% among production workers. Similar measures for printing and related support activities show declines of 4.5% and 4.9%, respectively. The national unemployment rate, which is based on a different survey, jumped to 6.5% in October—its highest level since March 1994. Given all the announcements of large layoffs among major companies and the cautious posture being adopted by most businesses, the jobless rate is likely to move substantially higher in the coming months.

Yes, we are in recession. The economy will show a steep contraction this quarter, to be followed by further
declines and/or several quarters of sub-par growth at best. There are steps we should be taking during these challenging times, but as readers of the NAPL State of the Industry Report, Seventh Edition and other reports from the State of the Industry Series know—simply surviving recession isn’t enough anymore. As was stated in the NAPL Printing Business Conditions: November 2008: “We either get more productive, more competitive, and more valuable to our clients or we get left behind.” The dark clouds will pass. In fact, a few small rays of sunshine are already beginning to come through. Although equity markets continue to show wild gyrations, credit markets seem to have begun their slow march back to a semblance of normalcy. Unlike policy leading up to the Great Depression, the Federal Reserve is pumping an enormous amount of liquidity into the economy. As we await another stimulus package, the sharp drop in gasoline prices is already providing some relief to the beleaguered consumer and business. This is not
Great Depression II.

Andrew Paparozzi

Joseph Vincenzino

Kong 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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