Ad industry staffing appears to stabilize
Ad industry employment showed signs of stabilizing in May as U.S. advertising, public relations and related services employment fell by 900 jobs.
That’s still a negative number, but it stands as positive news after the ad industry shed 38,500 jobs in April and 3,700 jobs in March, according to today’s Bureau of Labor Statistics jobs report.
Job losses for March and April were upwardly revised from data released by BLS a month ago; preliminary BLS data at that time indicated advertising, public relations and related services employment fell by 36,400 jobs in April as the industry plunged into a deep COVID-induced recession.
Today’s jobs report offers stark evidence of the losses sustained by ad agencies. BLS data show that ad agencies cut 10,000 jobs in April, with employment falling 4.8 percent to 197,100. Ad agency job figures have a one-month lag, so we won’t know May staffing for another month—and it’s possible we will see some stabilizing then.
Job losses are apparent across media disciplines—with one notable bright spot.
Broadcast TV employment fell by 8,600 jobs in April, down 6.6 percent. Newspapers in April cut 8,200 jobs, a 6.8 percent reduction; radio staffing fell by 5,400 jobs, down 6.9 percent; magazines eliminated 4,700 jobs, or 6.0 percent of staff.
But digital media ventures trimmed 600 jobs in April, only a 0.2 percent reduction, keeping digital media employment close to its March record level.
As with ad agencies, there is a lag in media discipline jobs figures, so we won’t know May staffing for another month. But the April job figures suggest the digital divide is only growing in this downturn, with traditional media losing more ground to new media.
Today’s overall U.S. jobs report was far brighter than forecasters had expected, with jobs figures providing early evidence that the economy is starting to reopen.
The nation added 2.5 million jobs in May—a sharp turnaround after the economy lost an unprecedented 20.7 million jobs in April.
The U.S. unemployment rate declined to 13.3 percent in May from 14.7 percent in April. That drop is good news, but those two months still mark the nation’s two highest unemployment rates since 1940.