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US jobs grow, but not for journalists

Job declines in print journalism have taken their toll, but the Internet offers some hope for future growth.

Shannon Stapleton/Reuters/File
Reporters listen in as Republican gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino speaks during a news conference with his wife Sheila, left. Even though the Labor Department says the US gained 175,000 jobs last month, years of decline in the number of US journalism jobs have taken their toll on the industry.

At 8:30 Friday morning, the Department of Labor released its jobs report and soon headlines were flashing all over the nation: US adds 175,000 jobs, unemployment ticks up to 6.7 percent.

But what about the reporters and editors who wrote those headlines and news stories? What are the job prospects for journalism?


The February job numbers show that the number of workers in publishing fell – again. Between February 2013 and February 2014, the numbers dropped from about 733,000 to 727,900, according to the department's most recent industries at a glance data.

Of course, publishing includes a whole slew of workers that have nothing to do with newspapers, such as book editors and Internet writers. For a detailed look at print reporters, specifically, the latest numbers from the Labor Department's occupational employment statistics are from 2012. That year, there were 29,100 reporters and correspondents in newspapers and other print media.

That's a drop of 26 percent from the 39,520 print reporters' jobs reported in 2005. The financial crisis didn't help any, either: from 2007 to 2010, the industry lost more than 8,400 jobs in print-related areas.

(The job is also easy to pick on: "Newspaper reporter" was labeled the "worst job of 2013" by, although the distinction is probably tongue-in-cheek, since the runner-up was “lumberjack.”)

And what of newspaper and print media editors? There are more of them and they fared better. 

Back in 2005, there were about 55,790 print editing jobs – a figure that grew to nearly 63,400 by 2007. Cue the financial crisis, though, and by 2012, that total contracted to about 56,300 jobs.  

It's not all bad news, though, for reporters and editors who are in some other medium. The number of broadcasters in TV and radio journalism, for example, grew from a total of 9,290 in 2005 to 10,690 by 2012.

And the number of jobs for reporters and correspondent working for websites grew nearly three times, totaling more than 4,000 jobs by 2012.

So the takeaway: Yes, the Internet is creating new jobs for journalists. Unfortunately, just not enough to replace the ones that have been lost.

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