Friday, September 18, 2009

Job Losses in the News Industry Significantly Outpace Losses in the Overall Economy

MCLEAN, Va., Sept. 17 /PRNewswire-HISPANIC PR WIRE/ -- Since the Lehman Bros. collapse last September, the journalism industry lost jobs at almost three times the rate of jobs lost in the economy each month.

UNITY's 2009 Layoff Tracker Report shows an average 22% increase in journalism jobs lost each month from September 2008 through August 2009. In contrast, the economy shed jobs at an average pace of plus 8% each month during the same period.

"The news industry has been hemorrhaging jobs long before the economic crisis began last year," said Onica N. Makwakwa, executive director of UNITY. "These numbers confirm that the economic downturn has hit the news industry very, very hard."

The news industry has shed 35,885 since Sept. 15, 2008, and 46,599 jobs since UNITY began tracking job losses on Jan. 1, 2008.

Industry layoffs hit a peak in December 2008 when 7,398 jobs were lost. Since January 2008, 201 media outlets have closed.

UNITY data also shows sharp spikes during periods when quarterly financial reports from public media companies come due.

"As the news industry shapes a new future and companies battle the financial storm, it's important to remember that it's about people too," said Makwakwa.

UNITY urges news media companies to redouble their retraining efforts to assist staff in making the transition to the new media world.

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