Ad Industry Cut Another 18,700 Jobs in December

Only Online Media and Search Companies Added Staff at the End of 2008

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LOS ANGELES ( -- The U.S. advertising and media industry slashed 18,700 jobs in December, bringing industry job losses in this recession to 65,100.

The industry cut staffing 3.9% from the time the recession began in December 2007, according to Ad Age DataCenter's analysis of figures released today by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The ad industry employed 1.59 million people as of December.


U.S. Ad Industry Employment, 2000-2009:
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All sectors of advertising, marketing services and media trimmed jobs in December except one: internet-media companies and web-search portals. That sector added 800 jobs, bringing employment (82,200) to the highest level since 2002.

Media companies eliminated 41,000 U.S. jobs, or 4.6% of staff, from the time the recession began. Advertising/marketing-services firms -- ad agencies and the like -- cut 24,100 jobs, or 3.1% of staff.

In percentage terms, the ad industry is faring worse than the overall U.S. employment market, which has lost 2.6% of jobs since the start of recession.

Accelerating job losses
The economy's total job losses in this recession so far: 3.6 million. Ominously, nearly half the losses occurred in the past three months.

Last year's U.S. job losses were the highest since the government began calculating the figures in 1939. The number of January job cuts, 598,000, was higher than expected and the biggest since December 1974. January's unemployment rate rose 0.4 points to 7.6%, the highest since November 1992. (The stock market read bad job news as good news: The Dow jumped 218 points or 2.7% Friday as investors bet the jobs report would push Congress to pass the economic stimulus bill.)

Media's biggest loser last year: newspapers, which slashed 31,200 jobs, or 9.1% of staff. Radio cut 8,100 jobs, or 7.4% of staff. Broadcast TV cut 5,100 jobs, or 4%, while cable TV added 2,500 jobs, or 3%. Magazine publishers cut 4,500 jobs, or 3.2%. Bright spot: internet-media companies, which added 5,400 jobs, or 7%.

Among advertising/marketing-services companies, ad agencies last year cut 6,000 jobs, or 3.2% of staff, and graphic-design firms eliminated 7,400 jobs, or 9.9%. There were bright spots: Marketing-consulting employment rose by 2,200, or 1.4%, and public-relations agencies added 1,200 jobs, or 2.4% (see box above for DataCenter's analysis of industry jobs back to 2000).

The Bureau of Labor Statistics' data release included its annual revision of job figures to factor in updated employment benchmarks. Revisions show that ad-industry employment is a bit higher than earlier figures suggested: The industry employed 3,900 more people in November under the new measure. That reflects an upward adjustment of 10,000 jobs in advertising/marketing services -- largely resulting from the growth of marketing consultancies. It also reflects a downward revision of 6,100 media jobs -- including downward adjustments in cable and magazines and upward adjustments in broadcast and newspapers.

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