Overall, printing employment ticked up from May to June 2018, but on a year-over-year basis is down -1.8%. Likewise, production employment grew slightly from May to June, but was down -2.5% from June 2017. Consolidation, difficulty in hiring, and automation are the forces affecting printing employment. Which is the biggest piece of that pie? Consolidation at this point likely overshadows employee scarcity and robotization...for now.
In publishing, we saw employment grow from 709,700 in May to 714,900 in June—but (two steps forward, three steps back) that was a drop of -1.0% from the previous June.
The creative markets, as always, are faring a little better. From May 2017 to May2018, PR employment was up +7.6%, and agencies were up +1.5%. However, agency employment growth is just about halved when we back PR out, which indicates how important PR has become to today’s marketing and promotion efforts (they’re the ones running social media). Graphic design employment took a hit from May 2017 to May 2018 (down -2.5%)—driven in no small part by the increasing commoditization of design (which is an old story)—as did direct mail advertising (-4.3%), which is an even older story. (Frank Romano's video this week—in which he recaps the recent HOW DESIGN LIVE conference—raises a relevant point: he points out that 40,000 new designers hit the streets every year, which the industry has to absorb. A lot of them are headed to social media, and likely help boost those PR numbers.)