The Commercial Printing Industry: More Productive and More Diverse
In conventional terms, our industry is shrinking. Since 2000 sales are down 22.7%, employment is down 37.7%, and we’ve lost nearly 7,200 establishments, a 20.5% decline.
But 10 years ago we needed 730,300 employees to create $101.0 billion of sales. Today we create $78.1 billion in sales with 455,000 employees—a nearly 24.7% increase in sales per employee.
And consider that in 2000 over 85.0% of our revenue came from lithography and the associated preparatory and finishing services. Now nearly 40.0% comes from services such as variable-content digital printing, database management, mailing, fulfillment, and Web support.
We’re getting involved in our clients’ work earlier, staying involved longer, and satisfying a broader range of their communications needs. That doesn’t sound like a dying industry. It sounds like an industry that offers historic opportunity—just not in the same old places or by doing the same old things. And certainly not by waiting for the economy to make everything right. We’ll talk much more about both those points in the State of the Industry Report we’ll be publishing soon.