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by SixFigureStart | February 11, 2009


One industry definitely feeling a recessional pinch (and not getting much press for it) is advertising. After companies layoff workers and scrutinize their cost/benefit ratios, ad spending looks increasingly disposable, or at least not critically necessary. One only needs to look as far as the recent Super Bowl to see some effects: General Motors, usually good for about $5 million in commercial time, was conspicuously absent from the telecast. (We all know why.) So was FedEx, which had advertised on the program every year since 1998. Smaller ad budgets translate to shrinking revenues for the traditional, digital and mixed media firms that produce commercials and printed ads. (Incidentally, even the hoopla surrounding the 2009 Super Bowl contained less "hoop" than usual, with reports of empty hotel rooms, fewer parties, and less of a media presence.)

For all of 2008, ad agencies and marketing services firms cut 24,000 people, or 3.1% of the industry workforce. When media companies are added in, the percentage of displaced personnel averages out to 3.9% -- either way, well above the U.S. job market unemployment level increase of 2.6% since "the troubles" began. There were different results for different sectors of the industry; ad-fueling graphic design firms lost 9.9% of staff on average, and "traditional' agencies, 3.2%. Only marketing consultancies and PR agencies (two of the smallest sectors) managed to increase employment.

--Posted by Todd Obolsky, Vault News & Commentary


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