Graphic Communications is the United States' most geographically dispersed manufacturing industry and is a major force in the economy of every state.

Chairman: , Ph.D., Printing Industries of America

Graphic Communications Definition

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The Graphic Communication Industry Overview


What has traditionally been referred to as the printing business encompasses many segments: general commercial printing; quick printing; digital imaging; magazine, newspaper and book printing; financial and legal printing; screen printing; thermography; business forms printing; label and tag printing; packaging; greeting cards; and, trade and finishing services.

Due to the rapid technological changes and broadening of the scope of services, the printing industry is now referred to as the Graphic Communications industry, which more accurately represents the broader range of what printers do today. Expanded services include: creative design; e-commerce; web page design and hosting; mailing and fulfillment; and a host of services that provide horizontal marketing well beyond the core printing model.

General Information

The Graphic Communications industry helps the world communicate across a wide range of platforms. Graphic Communications encompasses the latest technologies and engineering, from digital imaging to optics, and of course, the Internet.

Graphic Communications is a multifaceted industry, with a wide range of career opportunities. This highly technical industry employs men and women working as chemists, engineers, computer programmers, writers and editors, designers, marketing specialists, researchers, press operators, technicians, sales people, managers, photographers, and bindery workers, as well as a variety of other positions.

Graphic Communications companies are entrepreneurial and innovative. They range from small companies with a few employees to large plants with several hundred people working on multiple shifts.

Interesting Facts

Graphic Communications is the United States most geographically dispersed manufacturing industry and is a major force in the economy of every state. Every state has at least 60 printing plants, over 1000 employees, and over $190 million in production. The average state has over 700 printing plants with 20,000 employees and over $3 billion in shipments.
(Printing Industries of America, 2007)

You can go virtually anywhere in the country and get a job working in Graphic Communications. The top ten leading states in total number of Graphic Communications employees are California, Illinois, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas, Ohio, Wisconsin, Minnesota, New Jersey, and Michigan.

Graphic Communications and imaging is one of the few industries that run an annual trade surplus. (International Trade Administration) Almost all printing that is consumed in the United States is produced in the United States, and the industry exports billions of dollars of products to other countries. In fact, the United States printing industry is projected to remain a strong domestic-based manufacturing industry for the foreseeable future.

National statistics:

  • There are 36,508 printing establishments in the United States.
  • Printing is the second largest manufacturing industry in the United States with regard to number of establishments.
  • Over 965,000 people are employed in the United States printing industry.
  • Printing and related occupations employ the third largest number of people in manufacturing in the United States, the first being motor vehicle parts and the second being plastic product manufacturing.
    (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2007)
  • Overall almost 80 percent of graphics companies employ less than 20 people. However, the industry also has many multinational corporations and publicly traded companies.
    (Printing Industries of America, 2007)
  • Annual printing shipments in the United States exceed $165 billion.
  • Contrary to popular belief, 46% of all advertising dollars are spent on printed media, while less than 5% are spent on the Internet.
    (Robert Coen's Insider's Report, 2007)
Job Outlook

The Bureau of Labor statistics projects the following through 2014:

  • 5.6% growth in production jobs
  • 9.6% growth in supervisors and managers
  • 8.1% growth in job printers
  • 14.2% growth in bindery workers

The industry will need drivers, bindery workers, sales and customer service people, computer operators, graphic artists, chemists, machinists, warehouse operators, mechanics, production supervisors, and all forms of management.

Our occupation is stable and there is ample opportunity for career growth. High school graduates can enter the workforce as trainees, and learn on the job. In time they can advance to positions of greater responsibility and skill, and eventually serve in supervisory positions. Graphic Communications jobs are located in every state, and in every type of community, from rural areas to the largest cities.