The June '09 issue of PFFC presented the cumulative responses from converters who responded to our annual Critical Trends survey that addresses significant issues facing our industry within four sectors, including flexible packaging; unprinted rolls and sheets; labels, tapes and tags; and paperboard products. Starting with this issue, thanks to the sponsorship of Fife Corp., PFFC will bring you more compelling data in monthly installments of Critical Trends' responses broken out by industry segment to reveal exactly how each converting sector is faring with the challenges posed by a recessionary economy.

Each month you can look forward to an exclusive analysis of responses to each of several different questions (from a total of 30) Penton Research posed in an electronic survey conducted March 23-April 1. We encourage PFFC subscribers to compare your performance with and against other converter sectors and to share your feedback with me on issues that concern your businesses.

You can access this information at any time by visiting pffc-online.com or from your subscription to PFFC's E-Clips e-newsletter.

The current economic crisis has taken a toll on industry staffing levels

Almost half of all respondents in Paperboard Packaging (46%), Unprinted Rolls & Sheets (46%), and Tapes, Labels & Tags (45%) report a 2008 reduction in employees. While Flexible Packaging fared significantly better than the other segments, almost a third of respondents (29%) report a reduction. Similarly, this segment was most likely to report an increase in staff (26%). Respondents in Unprinted Rolls & Sheets were least likely to increase headcount (6%).

  • Which statement applies to your company's total number of employees for 2008 compared to 2007?

The Unprinted Rolls & Sheets sector appears to have suffered the most dramatic reduction in employment

While virtually equal percentages of three sectors reported a staff reduction overall (Paperboard Packaging, Unprinted Rolls & Sheets, and Tapes, Labels & Tags), respondents in Unprinted Rolls & Tags reported the largest percent decrease, with 28% reporting employment down by more than 10%.

  • By what percentage did employment at your company change in 2008 as compared to 2007?

Primary Business

Each primary business type was well represented this year in our converter sample. Just under a third of respondents (30%) are employed in the Flexible Packaging sector; 24% were in Unprinted Rolls & Sheets; 24% in Tapes, Labels & Tags; and 14% in Paperboard Packaging. The companies for which the typical respondent works employ an estimated median of 75 employees.

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