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American newspapers employ fewer people than they did in 1947

By Chris Persaud

If you work in news in the United States, here’s your depressing chart of the day.

U.S. newspapers had 188,300 workers in August, lower than the January 1947 count of 230,600. That’s when the Bureau of Labor Statistics started keeping count of newspaper employees.

Meanwhile, public relations employment grew at around the same pace newspapers shrank since 2010.

Radio stations fired or laid off around 17,000 people from 2008 to 2010. But TV stations have employed a little more than 130,000 people this year – the highest since 135-137,000 in 2000 and early 2001.

The data come from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, series IDs CEU5051111001, CEU5051511001, CEU5051512001 and CEU5051913001. I chose these since workers from one of these industries tend to find work in one of the other three. The BLS included numbers on an industry it classified as “Internet publishing and broadcasting and web search portals” (series ID CEU5051913001), but since it seems to cover much more than news sites, I excluded it.

Mouseover or tap the lines to see more details. Get the clean dataset here. I made this chart with D3.js.

Traditional media industry jobs in the U.S., Jan. 1947 to Aug. 2015

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

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