Federal Report: Newspaper Jobs Will Decline 25% By 2018

By: Joe Strupp

The newspaper industry is expected to lose nearly 25% of its jobs by 2018, according to a new federal Bureau of Labor Statistics report.

The Employment Projections Summary examines the expected job loss or gain for each industry between 2008, the last year for which data is available, and 2018. Newspapers rank seventh among the top 10 industries slated for job losses.

BLS data shows that there were approximately 326,000 newspaper jobs at the end of 2008, with a prediction that there will be just 245,000 in 2018, a 24.8% drop.

“I suspect what has happened in recent years has a big influence on how they predict the future,” said newspaper analyst John Morton. “I don’t know how they base those predictions. It is an unknown. A lot of it is going to depend on how the newspaper industry comes out of the recession and how successful they are in translating their business onto the Internet.”

BLS officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Rick Edmonds, media business analyst at The Poynter Institute, said the prediction is not a surprise: “That is consistent with what has been happening the past three years. But I don’t think the next three years will be as bad.”

Expected newspaper job losses ranked behind only department stores, semiconductor and electronic component manufacturing, motor vehicle parts, postal services, printing, and cut-and-sew apparel manufacturing.

“One thing that would be supportive of newspaper employment is that 70% of daily newspapers have circulation under 50,000,” Morton added. “Those kinds of newspapers have suffered far less than big city papers have. Going forward, they will suffer less.”

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