Overall printing employment in March 2024 was up ever so slightly from February (+0.4% in general), with production employment down -0.2% and non-production employment up +1.5%.

In terms of publishing, overall publishing employment was up +0.5% from February to March, while advertising and related services was up +0.2%. 

Last year, we started adding a number of other business categories to our employment table, the reporting of which, as you may recall from our tracking of the publishing and creative markets, lags a month.

Overall employment in the signage industry was up +0.5% from January to February, with sign production employment up +0.7% and non-production up +0.3%.

Converted paper products employment was up +0.2% from January to February, with paperboard container employment down -0.1% and paper bags and coated and treated paper employment up +0.4%.

Looking at some specific publishing and creative segments, from January to February, periodical publishing employment was down -0.9%, while newspaper publishing employment was up +0.2%, and book publishing was down -1.3%. Graphic design employment was down -0.5% from January to February, ad agency employment was up +0.3%, and PR agencies were up +2.1% (PR agencies win this month’s employment report). Direct mail advertising employment was down -0.2%.

As for March employment in general, the BLS reported on April 5 that total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 303,000 in February, and the unemployment rate ticked down to 3.8%. Job gains occurred in Job gains occurred in health care, government, and construction.

Meanwhile, The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for January was revised up by 27,000 (from +229,000 to +256,000) and for February was revised down by 15,000 (from +275,000 to +270,000). Ergo, employment in January and February combined was 22,000 higher than previously reported.

The U-6 rate (the so-called “real” unemployment rate which includes not just those currently unemployed but also those who are underemployed, marginally attached to the workforce, and have given up looking for work) was unchanged at 7.3%.

The labor force participation rate increased from 62.5% to 62.7% (after having been unchanged for two months) and the employment-to-population ratio ticked up from 60.1% to 60.3%. On the down side, the labor force participation rate for 24–54-year-olds ticked down from 83.5% to 83.4%.

This employment report was above economists’ expectations, and was a pretty good report, especially given the upward revisions to January and February.