Employment in the advertising industry-including advertising, public relations, media buying and direct marketing-took a sharp drop in July, in spite of more signs of a recovery. Industry employment dropped to 428,400, down 2.7% from June's totals and down 2.9% from the year-ago period. With the closing of WPP Group's Bates New York and Havas planning 850 job cuts in its reorganization-one-third of which will be in its U.S. operations-the numbers are bound to stay depressed in coming months.
Jobs surprise lifts markets: Mixed economic indicators early in the week depressed stocks, opening the door to a spree of mid-week bargain hunting. But an upbeat employment report-which showed unemployment rolls steady and an increase in hiring-sparked the largest weekly gains in more than four months. Three AdMarket stocks were down, and Catalina Marketing Corp.-which hired a new auditor to revisit its last three fiscal years' results-was unchanged.
Agency and media companies performed well, in spite of concerns about slow growth in local advertising and downgraded spending forecasts. (See story, top right) Investors picked up beaten down stocks, pushing up prices for shares of past-week underperformers. AT&T Corp. dropped after a negative analyst report.
Advertising Age and Bloomberg's AdMarket 50 index of 50 top publicly traded marketer, agency and media companies for the week ended Oct. 3, based on stock trading data supplied by Bloomberg financial news service. All comparisons are vs. closing prices Sept. 26. Full data available on Bloomberg terminals under index BAAX.