September 25, 2023

Digital Marketing Education

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Ad staffing surged by 2,900 jobs in August, strongest growth in a year

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 500,900 jobs in August based on seasonally adjusted figures. 

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

The ad market added 2,900 jobs in August, the biggest gain since last summer and a marked improvement from July’s weak increase of 700 jobs.

BLS downwardly revised the July figure from a gain of 1,000 jobs reported a month ago. It upwardly revised the June figure to a gain of 2,400 jobs, vs. the 1,300 jobs increase 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 this year except for March. 

These ad employment gains came despite cutbacks this year 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 edged up to 232,800 jobs in July on a non-seasonally adjusted basis. That was a modest increase of 200 jobs from June, when staffing slumped to its lowest level since 2018.

Staffing in the classification of web search portals and all other information services increased by 1,700 jobs to 162,200 jobs in July on a non-seasonally adjusted basis. Even with that gain, staffing remains far below its all-time high of 171,900 jobs last January.


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