ISA Releases Study Showing Economic Impact of Sign and Visual Communications Industry


The International Sign Association (ISA) has released the new Economic Impact of the Sign and Visual Communications Industry study by Ernst & Young, which shows the effect that the industry has on the U.S economy.

The study estimates the industry as having generated at least R397 ($37.5) billion in direct and indirect economic output with more than 200000 employees in 2012.

Only those firms that self-identified as sign companies were included in direct output tally; including the indirect output, firms that contribute to the total sign output but do not consider themselves sign companies provides a more complete picture of the industry.

Lori Anderson, ISA president and CEO said, ‘ISA is excited to provide this research. As we more fully understand our industry’s impact on the economy and its influence across the country, we can use this to affect codes and regulatory issues at the local, state and federal levels.’

Among the key findings:
• The sign industry is estimated to have had 201,900 employees in 2012; direct and indirect employee compensation was an estimated R116 ($11) billion.
• There were an estimated 15385 U.S. establishments that indicated they were engaged in sign activity in 2012.
• The sign industry purchased an estimated R109,71 ($10.4) billion in goods and services from suppliers in 2012 with 88 percent coming from U.S. suppliers.

The ISA Economic Impact of the Sign and Visual Communications Industry by Ernst & Young also estimates the sign industry’s impact on U.S. employment, sales, employee compensation and taxes for 2012.

The National Association of Sign Supply Distributors (NASSD) and industry magazines like Wide-Format Imaging, Signs of the Times and Sign and Digital Graphics worked with ISA to encourage participation. Ernst & Young provided the analysis based on government figures and information provided by nearly 2000 industry firms.

The study is available free for ISA and NASSD members, non members may purchase it. ISA will also be offering a webinar to further elaborate on the research results in the coming weeks. To learn more, please contact ISA’s David Hickey at (703) 797-0479 or

The study only includes those establishments that classified themselves as engaged in sign manufacturing or whose main purpose is sign manufacturing.

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