Growth Stalls in a Tight Economy
In terms of productivity, the Top 10 generated $168,072 in sales per employee this year compared to $168,863 last year. For sales per location, the Top 10 generated $17.8 million versus $14.2 million a year ago.
As seen on the accompanying charts, the Top 10 forms manufacturers sold $695 million in forms products compared to $713 million last year. The Top 10 label and tag suppliers sold $376 million compared to $462 million a year ago. This drop in reported label sales is mainly due to Nashua Label ($115 million in sales last year) not participating in this year's report. The Top 10 commercial printers sold $1.47 billion compared to $1.41 billion last year and the Top 10 direct mail suppliers sold $243 million compared to $249 million a year ago.
For the Top 25 Manufacturers, total sales reached $3.8 billion, or 78 percent of total Top 100 sales. The Top 25 reported 23,032 employees and 233 locations. Last year these numbers were 22,905 employees and 295 locations. The Top 25 generated $165,205 sales per employee and $16.3 million per location, while last year these numbers were $165,466 and $12.8 million respectively.
Business activity declined among the Top 100 Manufacturers, as 70 percent reported expanding manufacturing capabilities in existing plants, 18 percent purchased or acquired facilities and 4 percent built new plants. This compares with last year's 75 percent, 19 percent and 5 percent respectively.
Although companies are reporting product line expansions, they are relying on current equipment capabilities to accomplish this. Only six companies out of the Top 100 Manufacturers are planning any significant equipment purchases.
Layoffs were an issue this year as 38 percent of the Top 100 Manufacturers reported them. On a brighter note, only 3 percent of the Top 100 say they will require additional layoffs in the coming year. The reasons for layoffs included slowdowns in orders (23 percent), company consolidation (14 percent), new technology requiring fewer workers (6 percent) and the discontinuation of one or more product lines (5 percent).