Employment in Printing is Down, but Advertising is Up

Doc's not sure if these declines are a long-range trend or just a result of the down economy. Either way, it's not good news for commercial printing.

Doc's reported before on the decline in young people going into the commercial printing business, which seems to be an industry with little or no growth. Well now, according to a recent report, employment in the industry is down overall.

In the meantime, there are some very interesting things happening with printing employment, unfortunately to the downside. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that printing employment contracted by -1,900 workers from September to October. The greatest majority of those were production workers, which is not a good sign for Q4-2011 industry shipments. Since last year, printing employment has dropped by -19,400 workers (October 2011 vs. October 2010).

At the same time, employment in advertising agencies and graphic design firms has increased by +24,900 (September 2011 vs. September 2010).

Employment in printing, advertising + graphic design peaked in mid-2000 at a little under 1.4 million workers. Today, the combination of the industries is nearly 960,000, so employment is down in all of them since that time, but advertising + graphic design is growing again. It's probably even greater, since freelance workers are not included in the calculations.

Doc's not sure if these declines are a long-range trend or just a result of the down economy. Either way, it's not good news for commercial printing.

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