While the decline hasn’t been quite
as steep as in the newspaper industry, magazine publishers have shed a substantial number of jobs over the last decade, according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics,
which provides quarterly estimates of the number of people employed by periodical publishers, among other industries.
According to the BLS, the total size of the magazine industry workforce shrank from 156,212 in March 2002 to 111,126 in March 2012, the most recent month for which data are available -- a 29% drop over 10 years.
In addition, the number of establishments
involved in publishing periodicals has declined from a peak of 9,232 in the third quarter of 2007 to 8,003 in the first quarter of 2012, for a 13.3% drop in five years, also per BLS.
Employment statistics from individual publishers are broadly in line with these results, judging by figures from publicly traded companies, which may be used -- with caution -- as proxies for the industry overall.
According to a New York Times article published in July, Time Inc. currently has about 9,000 employees; that’s down 25% from around 12,000 in 2004, per Off the Record by Norman Pearlstine. Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, another publicly traded company, had 582 employees at the end of 2011, down 24.4% from 760 at the end of 2007.
Of course, not every publisher conforms to the trend. At Meredith Corp., layoffs in publishing have been more than offset by the acquisition of a number of agencies, as the company bolstered its marketing services offerings in recent years. That boosted the total number of employees from 2,616 at the end of 2001 to 3,150 at the end of 2011.