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Agency employment-including advertising, public relations, media buying and direct marketing-dropped again in May, to 435,400 nationwide, after a surge in April. But with advertisers still spending conservatively, staffing numbers are bound to remain stagnant for a while and the proposed acquisition of Cordiant Communications Group by WPP Group is bound to affect numbers later in the summer.

AdMarket 50

Mixed data, mixed-up markets: The stock markets were stagnant early in the week and didn't improve much later. The markets digested a mixed bag of economic data showing lower unemployment but smaller employee payrolls, as well as rising manufacturing, personal incomes and consumer spending. But the rate of the increases wasn't good enough for some investors. Only 10 AdMarket stocks were up, 39 were down and Clear Channel Communications was unchanged, after reporting higher profits but declining radio ad revenue.

Omnicom Group was the only agency stock to gain during the week, up 0.48%, after it reported another positive quarter (see story, top left). Havas dropped after it reported another weak quarter and announced a reorganization (see story, P. 3). Primedia also sank, even after reporting a second-quarter profit, when it cut its annual sales target.

Advertising Age and Bloomberg's AdMarket 50 index of 50 top publicly traded marketer, agency and media companies for the week ended Aug. 1, based on stock trading data supplied by Bloomberg financial news service. All comparisons are vs. closing prices July 25. Full data available on Bloomberg terminals under index BAAX.

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