Newspaper Employment Drops 47% Since 2008

The number of newspaper newsroom employees dropped by 47% from 2008 to 2018, according to the Pew Research Center’s annual “State of the News Media” report.

Conversely, the number of digital-native newsroom employees increased by 82% since 2008, from about 7,400 workers to about 13,500 in 2018.

However, this increase of roughly 6,100 total jobs does not offset the loss of about 33,000 newspaper newsroom jobs during the same 10-year period. 

Newsroom employment in the U.S. dropped by 25% from 2008 to 2018, according to Pew Research Center’s analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Employment Statistics survey data. 



In 2008, about 114,000 newsroom employees (including reporters, editors, photographers and videographers) worked in newspaper, radio, broadcast television, cable and “other information services” industries, including digital-native news publishers.

By 2018, that number had declined to about 86,000, a loss of about 28,000 jobs in 10 years.

Total estimated advertising revenue for the newspaper industry in 2018 was $14.3 billion, down 13% from 2017. 

Digital advertising accounted for 35% of newspaper advertising revenue in 2018, based on this analysis of publicly traded newspaper companies. In 2017, digital advertising accounted for 31%.

Circulation revenue was down to $11 billion in 2018, compared to $11.2 billion in 2017.

In 2018, estimated U.S. daily newspaper circulation (print and digital combined) was 28.6 million for weekdays and 30.8 million for Sundays. Those numbers are down 8% and 9%, respectively, from 2017.

Pew Research Center analysis previously reported nearly one-quarter of the digital outlets examined experienced layoffs between January 2017 and April 2018, despite the overall increase in employment in this sector.

Newsroom employment in broadcast television has been relatively stable, at about 28,000 between 2008 and 2018. The same goes for cable television, at between 2,000 and 3,000 over that period. 

Radio broadcasting, however, has lost about one-quarter (26%) of its newsroom employees, dropping from about 4,600 workers in 2008 to about 3,400 last year. 

This means radio had the greatest decline in employment percentage-wise, though the overall number of jobs lost — about 1,200 — is far smaller than the loss in the newspaper industry, according to Pew Research Center.

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