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Dead trees not dying out

Oz printing industry experiences tiny contraction over three years

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Fondleslabs, Facebook and smartphones may be marketers’ toys de jour, but the first wave of digital toys and associated marketing didn’t make a dent in the amount of business for Australia’s printing industry, according to new data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

Way back in 2006-2007 more than 50,000 people were employed turning dead trees into $AU9.37 billion worth of various kinds of printed matter, according to the ABS's new Experimental Estimates for the Manufacturing Industry, 2009-10.

Three years, one GFC, millions of smartphones and considerable quantities of Kindles and fondleslabs later, the industry has apparently shed just five employees and recorded only a small dip in revenue to $AU9.183 billion, according to the Bureau's data for the state of Australian manufacturing. That’s just a two percent revenue fall – a result plenty of industries would not mind given economic conditions in the last three years.

The ABS doesn’t offer a breakdown of just what the printing industry is printing, but with newspaper and magazine circulations down it’s a fair guess that marketing material and packaging is picking up the slack.

The data is worse in the paper and pulp sector, where employee numbers dipped by nearly 3300 while income revenue hovered around the $AU9.6 billion mark.

With paper suppliers' income static in the midst of a manufacturing sector that's suffering, it would seem that the failure of the paperless office is good for some people, at least. ®

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