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One of the downward pressures on rehiring over the past several years has been the very technology we use on a daily basis. The trial-by-fire recession taught surviving businesses how to work lean and efficient, in many cases resulting in a work force capable of more productivity with fewer employees, all through practical use of the right tools.

The Office Automation sector of the Zacks Industry Rank contains 7 companies and gained 36 positions in the last week. It now holds a spot at #44 out of 260 ranked industries as many of the big players in the office space see boosts in their Zacks Rank. Eight recent positive earnings revisions and only two negative, and an average +30% positive Earnings per Share surprise, could indicate that this trend is more than paper-thin.

The perfection of office logistics, from paperless solutions, e-commerce, digital automation and streamlined operations frees budgets from unnecessary human resources. Now, this expense is frequently seen being used on what recession-conscious businesses consider a more reliable, versatile and, ultimately, more flexible way of managing the ebb and flow of business demands.

It may be illegal to print currency using their machines, but that’s not stopping these business from making money.

Lexmark International Inc. (LXK)

LXK is a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).  It moved up from a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) last week.
Lexmark International holds a large footprint in both business and consumer devices, and is most commonly known for printers. They focus on the flow of information between digital and paper media. Strong consensus estimates for this stock caught attention from investors and that boosted trading over the last several weeks. Its last four estimate revisions have all been to the positive.
LXK last quarterly earnings surprise was a modest +8.26%. It shows an expected annual EPS growth rate of +4.4% over the next five years. LXK reports quarterly earnings on April 22, 2014.

Pitney Bowes Inc. (PBI - Free Report)

PBI was upgraded to a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) last week from #2 (Buy).

Pitney Bowes operates in three reportable segments: Mailing and Integrated Logistics, Office Solutions and Capital Services. The company operates both in the U.S.A. and outside the U.S.A. Mailing and Integrated Logistics includes revenues from the rental of postage meters and the sale and financing of mailing equipment. Office Solutions includes revenues from the sale, financing, rental and service of reprographic and facsimile equipment. Much like Lexmark, Pitney Bowes has benefited from multiple, sequential, positive earnings estimate revisions.

PBI’s last quarterly earnings surprise was +20.45%. It shows an expected EPS growth rate of +5% over the next five years. PBI reports its next earnings on April 29, 2014.

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