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Semper International's Print Industry Insight Survey Reports Largest Drop in Profitability in the Twelve-year History of the Survey

Apr 23, 2013 12:00 AM

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Payroll tax increases and stagnating sales may be to blame.  Boston, MA – April 23, 2013 – Semper International, the leading placement firm for skilled help in the graphic arts and printing industry, announces its print Industry Insight survey has seen a sharp decrease in profitability compared to last quarter. 

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 is not screened. To preserve confidentiality, individual company information is not part of the tabulation. 

“We've never seen such a large contraction in profitability from one quarter to the next. Combined with stagnating sales over the last two weeks, it's very troubling,” notes Dave Regan, CEO Semper International. “We're concerned about the high levels of unemployment taxes. Hiring will drive this recovery. If businesses don't have the money to hire then everyone suffers.”  

The most recent survey indicates mixed business trends:

• 51% of companies surveyed reported a profitable Q1. This represents a 28-point decrease over last quarter.

• 13% of companies expect sales to decrease through the remainder of Q2, 2013 while 47% hope for an increase.

• The vast majority of respondents indicated that hiring levels will remain the same. Compared to 5% of companies in the previous quarter, 11% are planning to reduce their staffs.

• 45% of companies reported that healthcare is the labor cost component that increased the fastest last quarter. 13% cited base pay, the second largest component.

• The greatest competitive threat to printers remains largely unchanged from last quarter. The current economy (53%) is the biggest threat, growing pressures from lower cost competitors (22%) and operating costs (12%).

• Referrals (47%) continue to be the most popular way to find employees. Online ads (31%) rose in popularity this quarter.

• Half of businesses with fewer than 50 employers, while 38% of businesses with more than 50 employees are not taking steps to prepare for the 2014 Obamacare mandates.  

To participate in future surveys, please email More information is available from the Semper International website: 

About Semper International Semper International is a temporary help placement firm founded and staffed by professionals who were raised and trained in the printing and graphic arts industry, and who understand the innate needs and demands of the profession. Semper has a thorough understanding of all the positions, equipment, and software essential to the business, which assures a perfect employee - employer match. 

The Semper team constantly monitors job market trends in the industry. They understood the changes that occurred in job responsibilities when electronic prepress replaced the typesetter and mechanicals, and similarly understands the impact trends such as direct-to-plate and digital print have on staffing. Semper most recently introduced TechCreative professionals whose skills encompass both artistic, design and technical skills to output to any media.  

To provide career growth, Semper offers Semper University, an online training program for its employees to help prepare conventional printing professionals for upcoming changes in the industry. Realizing how the Internet is revolutionizing the industry, Semper also works with the most talented web designers, graphic designers, desktop publishers and production managers.  

Semper has offices in Boston (HQ), Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, Dallas, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Long Beach, Minneapolis and Wayne NJ. Direct Hire services for sales and management positions are conducted throughout the country. 

For more information, visit Semper International at:

Website: www.semperllc.comTwitter: