Department of Labor Eliminates Printing Jobs From Statistics: What Does This Mean for You?

When the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), part of the U.S. Department of Labor, announced recently that commercial printing, screen printing and print support activities have become “too small or too concentrated to be tracked” in its Current Employment Statistics database, there was an uproar in parts of the industry. Michael Makin, President & CEO of Printing Industries of America, shot back with a missive expressing his disappointment, citing forecasts for print revenue growth, and noting PIA’s multiple attempts to get BLS to revise its outdated definition of the printing industry.

“Print has and will continue to evolve as a media, and printers will continue to transition with a diverse mix of processes, products and ancillary services,” he wrote. “Unfortunately, the BLS has demonstrated it is less than interested in keeping up with the times and in collaborating with PIA on modern industry definitions that would more accurately reflect that print is alive and thriving as a key manufacturing sector.”

The BLS data is what’s irrelevant, he sniped, not printing and graphics communications jobs.

Industry indignation aside, what real impact does this decision by a government agency have on printers? For one thing, notes consultant and industry observer Howie Fenton, it contributes to the existing perception of printing as a declining industry.

“Without the BLS tracking this industry, it’s almost saying it’s not an important industry,” he laments. “It’s not a possible career path for you.”
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