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Print industry on the rebound, study finds

A new survey released Wednesday by Semper International – a Boston, Massachusetts-based temp placement firm – suggests the graphic arts and printing industries are beginning to recover from the economic downturn.

According to the report, 73 percent of surveyed print businesses had a profitable fourth quarter, marking a 13 percent gain over the previous quarter. What's more, only 12.5 percent of respondents anticipate decreased sales for the first quarter of 2011 – down from 20 percent last quarter.

"The more people working, the more who can purchase goods and services (and pay mortgages), creating a positive feedback loop and faster, sustained growth," said Dave Regan, CEO of Semper International.

"Watch for some negative news about the slowdown at the end of 2010 coupled with the recent GDP contractions in the U.K. and Japan," Regan added. "Positive news is critical at this time to help build economic momentum."

By far, the greatest fear among printers is not rising supply or labor costs, but the emergence of competitive technologies, with 48 percent citing this as their chief concern.

Still, few expect print media – be it direct mail, travel brochures or business cards – to go away anytime soon. Instead, most experts maintain that the new face of marketing is abou multichannel initiatives.

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