Over the summer, the industry’s attempts at recruiting production staff had been succeeding, albeit modestly, although as summer ended, employment dipped slightly, mostly in production. In September 2022, printing employment in general was down -1.3% from August (although, on a year-over-year basis, was up +1.0% from September 2021). Production employment was down -1.9% (and down -1.3% from September 2021) and non-production employment was down -0.1% (but up +6.2% from September 2021).

Publishing (except newspapers) had a generally strong summer, but employment is ebbing as the summer comes to a close. Overall publishing employment was flat from August to September 2022, although up +7.1% from September 2021.

Digging into the specific publishing segments (the reporting of which lags a month), employment is also fairly flat: from July to August 2022, periodical publishing employment was up +0.9%, while newspaper publishing employment was down -0.8%.

The creative markets were also down. Graphic design employment was down -3.4% from July to August 2022, ad agencies (less PR) were up +1.4%, and public relations was down -0.3% in June. Direct mail advertising employment was also down -0.3% in August.   

As for September employment in general, said the BLS in their October 7 report:

Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 263,000 in September, and the unemployment rate edged down to 3.5 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Notable job gains occurred in leisure and hospitality and in health care. …The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for May was revised up by 2,000, from +384,000 to +386,000, and the change for June was revised up by 26,000, from +372,000 to +398,000. With these revisions, employment in May and June combined is 28,000 higher than previously reported.

… The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for July was revised up by 11,000, from +526,000 to +537,000, and the change for August remained at +315,000. After revision, employment gains in July and August combined were 11,000 higher than previously reported

The unemployment rate dropped from 3.7% in August to 3.5% in September. So the general employment situation remains exceptionally good.  

Still, the labor force participation rate ticked down from 62.4% in August to 62.3% in September, and the employment-to-population ratio was unchanged at 60.1%. The labor force participation rate for 24–54-year-olds ticked down from 82.8% to 82.7%.

The September employment report was above economists’ expectations, and the unemployment rate is the lowest it’s been in 50 years. Combined with a positive GDP report yesterday (about which more next week), despite all the doom and gloom perceptions, the economy is doing pretty well.