The U.S. Department of Labor has reorganized its labor statistics, with a new Advertising and Related Services category that covers a wider group of advertising functions. The new category includes advertising, public relations, media buying and direct marketing agencies. But while the new tally shows improvement in hiring trends-total agency employees are up in April to 437,100-the long-term trend it still weak: Total industry employment is still far off the peak of 504,000 reached in 2000.
Caution signs: Stocks rallied going into midweek only to pull back before the holiday amid reports of weak manufacturing activity and the highest unemployment rate since April 1994. The AdMarket 50 posted a small gain in the short trading week; 36 stocks rose, 13 fell and Interpublic Group of Cos. was unchanged. For the first half of 2003, the AdMarket advanced 8.4% vs. the Standard & Poor's 500's 12.3% gain; 39 stocks were up and 11 down. Top first-half performer: Yahoo!, doubling in price. Worst: AT&T Corp., down 26.3%.
Harte-Hanks, a $909 million (revenue) direct-marketing and shopper company, last week joined the AdMarket, replacing the delisted Cordiant Communications Group. Since the S&P's March 2000 peak, Harte-Hanks rose 25.6% while the S&P fell 35%. Harte-Hanks has outperformed the AdMarket during the downturn but is flat year to date.
Advertising Age and Bloomberg's AdMarket 50 index of 50 top publicly traded marketer, agency and media companies for the week ended July 4 based on stock trading data supplied by Bloomberg financial news service. All comparisons are vs. closing prices June 27.