The information sector isn’t doing real well. Joel Kotkin, in a recent piece on New Geography, describes the hope economists had for the sector and what’s actually happened:
In the 1990s economist Michael Mandell predicted cutting-edge industries like high-tech would create 2.8 million new jobs over 10 years. This turned out to be something of a pipe dream. According to a recent 2010 New America Foundation Report, the information industry shed 68,000 jobs in the past decade.
Here’s the thing: that’s sort of the good news. The report Kotkin refers to focuses on high-tech information industries. The information sector across the board has seen much more severe decline over the last decade.
In the most recent EMSI dataset (2011.2 Complete), the net loss for the two-digit information sector from 2001 to 2011 is 799,800 jobs. That’s over 11 times what we saw for the high-tech information industries in the report Kotkin references.
The point of all of this is that we’ve seen heavy net decline in the two-digit information sector. The next step we’ll take is to look at particular industries within the information sector and uncover which specific industries are responsible for the decline. Additionally, we’ll find which growing information industries have been obscured by the prevailing decline. Also, from this point on, we’ll restrict our scope to just the EMSI Complete dataset – the one that contains non-covered workers along with covered workers.
Industries in the Information Sector
When we get down into the most detailed industries within the information sector we find a group of 32 industries. Eight of these industries are growing, 24 are posting net decline.
|Internet Publishing and Broadcasting and Web Search Portals||54%|
|All Other Information Services||32%|
|Motion Picture and Video Production||20%|
|Teleproduction and Other Postproduction Services||14%|
|Libraries and Archives||4%|
|Motion Picture Theaters (except Drive-Ins)||0%|
|Sound Recording Studios||-8%|
|Cable and Other Subscription Programming||-9%|
|Data Processing, Hosting, and Related Services||-13%|
|Drive-In Motion Picture Theaters||-14%|
|Wireless Telecommunications Carriers (except Satellite)||-16%|
|All Other Publishers||-20%|
|Integrated Record Production/Distribution||-31%|
|Directory and Mailing List Publishers||-33%|
|Motion Picture and Video Distribution||-34%|
|Wired Telecommunications Carriers||-34%|
|Other Motion Picture and Video Industries||-38%|
|Other Sound Recording Industries||-39%|
|Greeting Card Publishers||-47%|
|All Other Telecommunications||-49%|
Some elements of this data are not surprises. Print is in a bad way. However, newspaper publishing has declined 35% over the decade, compared to two other big print industries on the list, periodical publishers (17% decline) and book publishers (10%). But the worst decline in print is “greeting card publishers” with 47%. Sorry, Hallmark.
Telecommunications resellers are the hardest hit on this list (55%), with plenty of related industries hugely affected.
One of the interesting things about looking at the percentage change for telecommunications resellers year by year is that we can see that even though the industry has seen constant decline over the period, that decline has been anything but consistent, with weird lurches and dips throughout.
The same is true of many of the eight industries showing growth. All of those industries show at least one year of decline in their progress from 2001 to 2011. In fact, the industry with the largest percentage growth (internet publishing etc.) began the period with major decline before picking up and flourishing:
The motion picture and video production industry proved extremely volatile over this period with barely two consecutive years headed in the same direction:
How About Now?
In his article Kotkin points to some hopeful signs in the information sector. If we look at the most recent EMSI data, it does seem that there are some positive signs. If we look at a percentage growth line for the entire sector, here’s what we get:
So, from 2009 to 2011 there looks to be a slight dampening of decline. It’s still much too early to tell whether that means the beginning of an upswing, or what. Let’s look at the period of 2010 to 2011 with the more detailed industries, and see what that shows.
|Description||2010-2011 % Change|
|Internet Publishing and Broadcasting and Web Search Portals||7%|
|All Other Information Services||3%|
|Cable and Other Subscription Programming||2%|
|Libraries and Archives||2%|
|Motion Picture and Video Production||1%|
|Motion Picture Theaters (except Drive-Ins)||0%|
|Wireless Telecommunications Carriers (except Satellite)||-1%|
|Teleproduction and Other Postproduction Services||-1%|
|Data Processing, Hosting, and Related Services||-1%|
|All Other Publishers||-2%|
|Directory and Mailing List Publishers||-3%|
|Wired Telecommunications Carriers||-3%|
|Sound Recording Studios||-4%|
|Drive-In Motion Picture Theaters||-4%|
|Other Motion Picture and Video Industries||-4%|
|All Other Telecommunications||-5%|
|Integrated Record Production/Distribution||-6%|
|Motion Picture and Video Distribution||-6%|
|Greeting Card Publishers||-7%|
|Other Sound Recording Industries||-7%|
For this period we see 13 industries either growing or remaining static, and 19 industries declining. It’s just one year, and the data will change as we get more information in, but this is good news as far as it goes.