Employment and Print

By Andrew Paparozzi
In June 10, 2008

In our last posting we mentioned that jobs on nonfarm payrolls declined for the fifth straight month in May for a total drop of 324,000 thus far. Of course, a declining job count is nothing new for the manufacturing sector or the printing industry.

Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) show that total employment in manufacturing hasn’t shown an annual increase since 1998. And the downward trend in manufacturing jobs really started quite a bit earlier. No doubt, cyclical forces (currently in the form of an extremely weak economy) are currently intensifying the decline. Year-to-date, total manufacturing employment is down 2.2% from a year ago. A similar period in 2007 showed a decline of 1.8% and the decline in 2006 was 0.4%. What about employment in the printing industry?

As might be expected, cyclical forces also are intensifying a structural decline in print employment. Since 1998, total employment for print and related support activities is down by more than 214,000 or 26%. Production employment is down over 158,000 or almost 27%. Compared to a year ago, total and production employment in the printing industry during the January-May period are down 2.1% and 1.1%, respectively. A similar period last year showed a decline of -1.5% for total print employment, while production employment actually was up 0.2%. With sales activity weakening, printers are not only cutting employment, they’ve also cut almost a full hour off the average workweek of production employees.

Joseph Vincenzino

Andrew Paparozzi

Epicomm's Andrew Paparozzi, Vice President/Chief Economist, is well-known for his accurate and thoughtful discussions on the economy and US commercial printing industry. A foremost author and speaker on economic business trends in the printing industry, Paparozzi heads Epicomm's Printing Economic Research Center.

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