Print Employment More Detail

By Andrew Paparozzi
In April 10, 2008

In our previous posting we discussed preliminary March employment data for print and related support activities. What about employment for different sectors of the industry, are there any data? There are, but the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports these with a one-month lag (the March report contains detail for February).

The detail data is not seasonally adjusted, so it is best to make comparisons on a year-over-year basis. According to the BLS report, overall employment in commercial lithograph printing (roughly 39% of the total for print) declined 3.6% between February 2007 and February 2008—more than double the 1.7% decline during the previous 12 months. The drop-off in production employees during the period steepened to 2.2% from 1.3% in the previous 12 months—a clear sign of slowing sales. Another sign of slowing sales: Weekly hours of production employees for this sector have been slashed, with average hours for January and February at their lowest level since early 2004.

Declines in both employment and hours were widespread among other sectors, commercial flexographic, screen, quick printers, manifold business forms, and support activities. The exception, gravure and miscellaneous commercial printing, which showed year-over-year increases in February for overall and production employment, although average hours did move lower for this group. When looking at the detail employment data for print from the BLS, keep in mind that companies aren’t as easily categorized as they once were.

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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