The printing industry's current phase of robust growth is continuing according to the June 2007 quarter national accounts figures released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

The June 2007 quarter figures show that the printing, publishing and recorded media industry grew by 1.5 per cent during the quarter on trend basis to register an annual growth rate of 8.5 per cent.

For the second consecutive quarter the printing industry not only recorded the second highest rate of growth among the manufacturing sectors but also retained its status as a star performer of the Australian economy.

The economic growth data comes a day after the release of printing industry sales data which showed industry sales rose for the fourth consecutive quarter and were 18.3 per cent higher than the reported outcome a year earlier. During the year to June industry sales stood at almost $18.8 billion.

Over the June 2007 quarter the Australian economy grew by 1.2 per cent on a trend basis resulting in an annual growth rate of 4.4 per cent.

The key drivers of economic activity during the 07 quarter were business investment, household expenditure, government expenditure and private non-farm inventories. Net exports once again detracted from growth.

On seasonally adjusted basis payment to employees were reported to have increased by 2.7 per cent and by 9.0 per cent during the year to June. Private sector gross operating surplus fell by 1.5 per cent during the quarter but improved by 16.8 per cent during the year to June.

The wages share of the economy rose from 53.4 per cent to 53.5 per cent while the profit share fell from 27.8 per cent to 27.7 per cent when measured on trend basis.

Import penetration stood at 34.9 per cent well down on the 36.0 per cent level a year earlier.

Trend based growth rates among the states and territories show Western Australia reported the highest rate of annual growth at 11.5 per cent followed by Queensland 8.2 per cent; Tasmania 4.9 per cent; New South Wales 4.1 per cent; Australian Capital Territory 4.0 per cent; Victoria 3.4 per cent; and South Australia 3.0 per cent. The Northern Territory recorded a decline of 1.2 per cent.

At broad industry level manufacturing, construction, retail trade, transport and storage, finance and insurance, property and business services, and ownership of dwellings were all reported to have made positive contributions to growth. Detracting from growth were the agriculture, forestry and fishing industries.

Printing Industries National Policy and Research Manager, Hagop Tchamkertenian, said the robust economic growth data represented a mixed blessing.

"Not only has the printing industry now expanded for four consecutive quarters but during that same period it has also succeeded in outperforming the Australian economy and for three consecutive quarters the manufacturing sector, " he said.

"The noticeable pick-up in growth at the Australian economy level may persuade the Reserve Bank to raise official interest rates to help dampen the build up of inflationary pressures.

"Hopefully the Reserve Bank will take some comfort from the fact that business investment is once again a significant contributor to economic growth. Business investment by increasing the economy's capacity helps to act as a counter force to rising cost pressures". 

Mr Tchamkertenian said the robust economic growth performance of the printing industry could largely be explained by the fact that key sectors of the Australian economy that are large consumers of printing are also doing well.

"Sectors such as retail trade and wholesale trade, property and business services, manufacturing and construction have all reported strong rates of economic growth.

"The real question is how long can the industry's expansion phase continue. The key to that answer at the moment is with the Reserve Bank," he said.

Printing Industries Association of Australia

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