Job losses still continue to weigh heavy on the printing industry

Posted By on July 12, 2011

A recent article in Tuesday’s Wall Street Journal highlighted what I already know about my line of work – the printing industry is losing jobs. Most of us working in printing and publishing business continue to struggle to stay a float and are wondering if business will ever come back. Thankfully I’m no longer a principle charged with cutting business overhead and having to eliminate employees – because it would not be a pleasant task.

deeperlook_wsj

Printing jobs have continued to dwindle, off 4.5% from a year ago, in part because digital competition has reduced demand for newspapers, magazines and books, said Ron Davis, chief economist for Printing Industries of America, a trade group based in Pittsburgh. The business of printing labels, wrappers and packaging remains strong, he said, and direct-marketing, catalog and brochure work has been resilient.

But the printing companies that have survived tend to be very efficient and need fewer workers

"Business is better but it’s not back where it was," said Ralph Moore, owner of Commercial Printing Co. in Raleigh, N.C., which prints office stationery, newsletters, booklets and other items. He has kept his staff level at 22 and figures he could expand his output as much as about 25% without new workers. Using digital printers, the company now can do some jobs with one person that used to require two or three. Mr. Moore invested about $150,000 earlier this year to install a faster digital printer.

—James R. Hagerty

Comments

  • Steve

    Good thing I’m in the digital printer making side of the business I suppose…

    • Yep … you’re fortunate to be in that cutting edge that replaces much of the older “people intensive” printing. Sort of like when I started to use the Macintosh computer to do type and page layout rather than galley based typesetting and manual paste up (wax up), process camera darkroom work and the stripping in of film halftones and separations. Hard to believe we did it that way in order to make offset plates … of course there might be some reading this that saw their jobs replaced by computer pagination.

      • Believe it or not, I’ve actually used a light table, stripped negatives, and all that good stuff before! 🙂

        But yeah, digital’s certainly the future. Not sure that I see a lot of growth anywhere other than packaging and printed electronics, however.

  • printing american

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Desultory - des-uhl-tawr-ee, -tohr-ee

  1. lacking in consistency, constancy, or visible order, disconnected; fitful: desultory conversation.
  2. digressing from or unconnected with the main subject; random: a desultory remark.