Firms in the printing and related support activities industry (which will be referred to as the "printing industry") print products, such as newspapers, books, periodicals, business forms, greeting cards, and other materials, and perform support activities, such as bookbinding, platemaking, and data imaging. Newspapers and other publishers that do in-house printing are classified in the publishing industry of the information sector and are not included here.
Annual average employment in the industry has dropped about 36 percent since 2001. Going further back in time, employment in commercial printing had increased until the mid-1990s. It then leveled off for a few years before starting a slow decline in the late 1990s. The decline accelerated during the early part of the 2000s. After a relatively stable period between 2006 and 2008, the industry, like most in manufacturing, was hurt by the Great Recession. Since then, employment has been relatively stable, declining slightly over the past two years.
The largest portion of the printing and related support activities industry is in private sector printing. The support activities for printing subsector is relatively small, with an annual average employment of 338 in 2011, down 63 percent from the 812 recorded in 2001.
Today, however, other forms of media are distributing information at an increasing rate. First radio, then television, and now the Internet and e-books have taken market share. This has reduced the demand for printed material and contributed to the decline of industry employment.
Although some in-house newspaper printing is not included in this industry, the decline of newspaper circulation is a prime example of how technology has reduced the demand for printed material. Online news has many advantages. It's often free of charge, has a wider range of information available, and the ability to provide updates several times a day. This has pushed people online for their news and away from print newspapers. According to the Newspaper Association of America, paid circulation began to drop in the late 1980s. Between 1990 and 2011, daily circulation in the U.S. dropped from 62,328,000 to 44,421,000, a loss of 17,907,000, or 29 percent.
Another way technology can reduce employment is through increased productivity. In many manufacturing industries, improvements in productivity eventually make the industry less labor intensive, reducing employment. One measure of productivity is the output per worker. Graph 2 measures productivity as the inflation adjusted contribution per worker of the industry to Oregon's gross domestic product. It shows that except for the recessionary period from 2008 to 2009, the printing and support activities industry has generally increased productivity. Although productivity can be increased in other ways, it is at least partly due to better technology.
Table 1 lists the largest 15 occupations in the printing industry and their wages. The wages listed are for all industries that include the occupation, not just printing and support activities. Wages in the printing and support activities industry are midlevel. The 2011 average annual pay for the industry is $40,910 compared with an overall statewide wage for all industries of $43,077. The wage for the support activities subsector is a little higher at $45,959. However, wages in the industry are low for a manufacturing industry. Overall, manufacturing has an average annual wage of $60,223.
Most occupations in printing production, such as printing machine operators and bindery workers, require only a high school diploma and moderate on the job training, and tend to pay below the industry average. Others, like prepress technicians and graphic artists may require education beyond high school and involve artistic skills. These occupations generally pay higher wages.
|Select Printing and Related Support Activities Occupations in Oregon|
|Printing Machine Operators||1138||16%||$17.67|
|Prepress Technicians and Workers||497||7%||$20.56|
|Machine Feeders and Offbearers||321||5%||$12.87|
|Supervisors/Managers of Production and Operating Workers||281||4%||$25.49|
|Customer Service Representatives||230||3%||$14.72|
|Sales Representatives, Services, All Other||227||3%||$24.24|
|Production Workers Helpers||170||2%||$12.71|
|General and Operations Managers||164||2%||$41.71|
|Shipping, Receiving, and Traffic Clerks||157||2%||$14.14|
|Office Clerks, General||138||2%||$14.38|
|Bookkeeping, Accounting, and Auditing Clerks||134||2%||$17.09|
|Sales Representatives, Wholesale and Manufacturing, Except Technical and Scientific Products||121||2%||$25.57|
Demand for some forms of printed material like packaging and direct mail advertising that are not as susceptible to replacement by electronic formats is expected to increase along with economic and population growth. This will moderate the losses from technical advances expected elsewhere in the industry.
Most occupations in the printing industry in Oregon are expected to remain flat or decline slightly. However, with an aging labor force there are expected to be increased replacement needs from retirements that will help provide opportunity. Table 2 shows the expected employment change and replacement needs of occupations most directly related to printing and support activities. Several of the occupations are expected to have no openings created by growth, but are expected to provide opportunity through replacement openings.
After years of decline since the 1990s, and a big drop during the Great Recession, the long-term projection is for future advancements in technology to further reduce employment in the printing industry. Still, paper products will long have a place in our economy. In the future, declines in printing-industry employment are expected to be slower than they've been over the past decade.
|2010-2020 Employment Projections for Select Printing and Related Support Activities Occupations in Oregon|
|Projected Annual Openings|
|Printing Machine Operators||0||33||33|
|Prepress Technicians and Workers||0||16||16|
|Machine Feeders and Offbearers||64||81||145|
|Supervisors/Managers of Production and Operating Workers||109||101||210|
|Production Workers Helpers||62||61||123|
|Shipping, Receiving, and Traffic Clerks||134||222||356|