In a sign that the U.S. printing industry may be poised for significant growth as it emerges from the recession, WhatTheyThink magazine reported Tuesday that commercial printing shipments were valued at $6.6 billion in February.
February's figures were up 4.4 percent – or approximately $280 million – from the same period in 2010 and 2.2 percent higher with inflation adjusted.
"January and February shipments benefited from easy comparisons to very bad months in 2010," said Dr. Joe Webb, director of WhatTheyThink's Economics and Research Center. "We have to be realistic about the rest of the year because of that, and expect 2011 to be about even with the remaining 10 months of 2010. But we do hope that the positive comparisons continue."
Dr. Webb also pointed out that shipments also grew from February to March, providing an even stronger indication of recovery on an industry-wide scale.
However, he added, the demand for digital and web-based media continues to grow. As the economy as a whole begins to recover, printing professionals will need to boost their ingenuity and marketing strategies in order to provide content that is relevant and clearly beneficial to consumers.