U.S. employment at internet media companies in April topped 40,000 for the first time since 2001, according to an Ad Age DataCenter analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics data.
Internet media employment still is a fraction of the size of traditional media sectors such as newspapers, TV, radio and magazines. But the internet is driving media employment growth.
Consider that in the 12 months ended March 2007, U.S. media companies added a total of 5,000 jobs after tallying gains and losses. Newspapers cut 9,800 jobs (down 2.7%). Other traditional media had small gains: TV (4,300, up 2%), radio (3,100, up 2.8%) and magazines (2,100, up 1.5%). The biggest gainer of all? Internet media, which added 5,300 jobs -- an increase of 15.8%.
Below bubble-bursting peak
To be sure, internet media employment -- 38,800 jobs in March and 40,100 in April -- remains far below its bubble-bursting peak of 51,300 jobs in July 2000. But employment is up sharply from its post-bubble nadir of 28,200 jobs in December 2003.
Internet media firms now account for 4.4% of U.S. media jobs, still down from its peak of 5.2% in 2000. Internet media job figures reflect employment at companies that publish or broadcast web content -- for example, news, video, entertainment sites, game sites and sports sites -- with no traditional media component. As such, the government's internet media figures exclude web-related jobs at traditional media firms.
Internet media figures also exclude search-engine firms, or what the government classifies as "web search portals." That business also is booming, at least at the top: Search leader Google says it employed 12,238 people worldwide on March 31, up 80% from 6,790 a year earlier.