US Ad Industry Employment at All-Time High Heading into 2024

Let’s open 2024 with some positive news on the job front. Employment in advertising, public relations and related services rose by 1,900 jobs in December, ending 2023 with staffing at an all-time high, according to Ad Age.

And the positive news spans across many industries, not just the ad world. Overall U.S. employment increased by 216,000 jobs in December, according to the monthly employment report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Those numbers surpassed economists’ expectations, a sign of the labor market’s continued resilience.

The unemployment rate, based on a separate survey of households, held steady at 3.7% in December.

Here is a breakdown of the employment numbers from Ad Age as we head into 2024 with renewed optimism…

U.S. employment in the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) classification of advertising, PR and related services came in at 504,600 jobs in December based on seasonally adjusted figures, breaking a new record. 

The ad market added 1,900 jobs in December following a loss of 800 jobs in November.
BLS downwardly revised the November figure from a gain of 1,200 jobs reported a month ago. It upwardly revised the October figure to a gain of 3,200 jobs vs. the 3,000 job increase reported a month ago.

This BLS jobs bucket includes ad agencies, PR agencies and related services such as media buying, media reps, outdoor advertising, direct mail and other services related to advertising. Ad agencies account for the biggest portion—about 47%—of those jobs.

Ad employment in 2023 increased every month except for March and November. Over the past six months, the average monthly gain for the ad market was about 1,200 jobs.

These ad employment gains came despite cutbacks over the past year at media companies and ad-centric tech firms.

Here is more analysis from Ad Age regarding the record employment numbers in the advertising agency world…

U.S. ad agency employment dropped to 236,500 jobs in November on a non-seasonally adjusted basis, down by 1,700 jobs from an all-time high reached in October.

The November decrease followed a gain of 3,000 jobs in October. BLS upwardly revised the October figure from a preliminary increase of 2,700 jobs reported a month ago.

BLS reports ad agency employment on a one-month lag, so December figures aren’t yet available. But the December increase in advertising, PR and related services employment suggests that ad agency staffing rose last month.

Click here for more analysis and employment data from Ad Age as we forge ahead into 2024.

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