September 21, 2023

Digital Marketing Education

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US ad employment gained 1,000 jobs in July, but pace of growth slowed

Advertising, PR and related services

U.S. employment in the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) classification of advertising, public relations and related services came in at 497,200 jobs in July based on seasonally adjusted figures. 

That puts ad employment at its highest level since March 2001, around the time of the dot-com bubble. That earlier date is noteworthy: It marked the peak of the business cycle and first month of a recession.

The ad market added 1,000 jobs in July, moderating from growth of 1,300 jobs in June and 1,800 jobs in May.

BLS downwardly revised figures for the two previous months from the gains—2,200 jobs in both June and May—reported a month ago.

This BLS jobs bucket includes ad agencies, PR agencies and related services such as media buying, media reps, outdoor advertising, direct mail and other services related to advertising. Ad agencies account for the biggest portion—about 47%—of those jobs.

Ad employment weakened last fall, dropping in three of four months from September through December. But the ad business found new momentum this year, with staffing increases every month in the first seven months of 2023 except for March. 

These ad employment gains came despite cutbacks at media companies and ad-centric tech firms.

Employment in the broad BLS classification of media streaming distribution services, social networks and other media networks and content providers slumped in June to 232,500 jobs on a non-seasonally adjusted basis, down 800 jobs from May, with staffing falling to its lowest level since 2018.

Staffing in the classification of web search portals and all other information services rose by 300 jobs to 160,500 jobs in June on a non-seasonally adjusted basis, but that’s far below its all-time high of 171,900 jobs last January.


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