Almost 60% of print companies have cut prices and half anticipate further cuts, the latest BPIF Directions survey has found.
The Printing Outlook survey, which was released this morning, paints a gloomy picture of the current state of the UK print industry, with more than half of the 102 companies surveyed reporting a deterioration of trade between March and May this year.
Some 96% of companies are operating below 90% of their total capacity, up from 88% in the last survey, and 69% of companies are cutting staff levels – almost double those that said they intended to at the last survey.
BPIF corporate affairs director Andrew Brown said: "These results are our sixth consecutive negative reading from the Printing Outlook survey, making the current run of results the worst for a decade.
"Clearly we can expect there will be little respite in the period ahead. Although the majority of respondents are expecting trade to stabilise over the summer months, this means that the industry will continue to run at a very low ebb."
However, despite some of the worst conditions seen in print for decades, only one in seven companies surveyed traded at a loss for the period with 9% reporting profit growth of 6% or more.
In addition, 89% are planning to invest in new kit in the coming 12 months, but half will be spending less than last year.
The survey came as official statistics showed that the UK economy contracted at is highest level for 50 years in the first quarter of 2009.
The 2.4% contraction follows a 1.9% fall in the previous quarter with the Office of National Statistics citing weaker output in the construction and manufacturing industries as the main drivers of the decline.
For more on the BPIF survey, see this week's PrintWeek.