Ad Employment Dips in February Despite U.S. Job Growth Surge

Ad Employment Dips in February Despite U.S. Job Growth Surge

News by Roberto Orosa
Published: March 11, 2024

February witnessed a decline in the advertising, public relations and related services sector, with a drop of 400 jobs that marked its first monthly downturn since spring.

This decline came unexpectedly, given the sector's consistent growth in recent months.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' (BLS) monthly employment report ad employment soared to record-highs each month between May 2023 to January 2024, showcasing the industry's ability to weather challenges.

A Notable Decline in Ad Jobs

Insights from Ad Age Datacenter also unveiled that February's decline followed a substantial increase of 1,700 jobs in the ad sector in January.

In January, ad agency employment in the United States also dropped to 237,400 jobs on a non-seasonally adjusted basis, declining from the previous month's peak of 238,600 jobs in December.

The decrease amounted to a reduction of 1,200 jobs in ad agency staffing for January.

This decline was in line with historical patterns, as ad agency employment typically experiences a decrease from December to January each year, spanning from 2001 through 2024 on a non-seasonally adjusted basis.

Following a rise of 2,600 ad agency jobs in December, the January decrease was notable. 

The Bigger Picture

Despite the setback in advertising employment, the broader U.S. economy continued its upward trajectory.

The U.S. job market witnessed a surge with an addition of 275,000 jobs, surpassing economists' forecasts.

February also marked the 38th consecutive month of job gains since January 2021, which follows the unprecedented job losses in April 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Total U.S. employment in February reached 157.8 million jobs, surpassing pre-pandemic levels and setting a new all-time high, highlighting the steadfast recovery of the economy despite the challenges posed by the global health crisis.

Meanwhile, global ad spend is expected to go up by 7.7% this year.
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Editing by Katherine 'Makkie' Maclang

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