Job Contraction Intensifies

By Andrew Paparozzi
In December 9, 2008

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) announcement that nonfarm payrolls declined by 533,000 jobs in November
and 1.3 million over the past three months clearly brought home the severity of the current economic downturn. Further announcements of large job cutbacks seem to be a daily occurrence, highlighting that labor market weakness will persist for much of 2009. Nonfarm payroll employment in November was 1.5% lower than a year ago—not yet as steep as the declines recorded in the 1973-75 and 1981-82 recessions—but we have a way to go before we’re at the low point of the current downturn. Job losses have become widespread throughout most industries, with the exception of education and health services. What about print?

Total employment in printing and related support activities showed a year-over-year drop of 5.9% in November to 587,500, while production employment also was down 5.9% to a total of 419,400. These represent the steepest employment declines for the printing industry since early 2003. While certainly reflecting current cyclical developments, the contraction in print employment also reflects the structural changes that continue to redefine the industry.

Unlike job developments in the overall economy, employment in the printing industry has declined throughout the ensuing period—even in years when print sales were rebounding. In fact, 1998 was the last year that printing industry employment rose. As we cope with current business conditions, we need t remember that structural changes will continue to impact print throughout the current downturn and beyond.

Andrew Paparozzi                        Joseph
Vincenzino
                        Kong
Wang

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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