Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Help-Wanted Still Hurting

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Help-Wanted Still Hurting

Article excerpt

Profits, advertising rise in third quarter

There's a nip in the air as November nears. Advertising has begun to pick up across the industry, but for the most part recruitment hasn't kept pace. Last week it became clear that companies continued to log double-digit declines in help-wanted ad revenue in the third quarter, despite easy comparisons with last year.

The poor results reflect the soft hiring market that has yet to show any clear signs of improvement. "Businesses aren't investing in capital right now, and until they do, we're not going to start seeing that boost" in hiring that fuels newspaper job-ad revenue, said Miles E. Groves, chief economist for the Barry Group consultancy.

Even if businesses began spending now, Groves said help-wanted advertising isn't likely to show strong growth until the second quarter of next year. The lack of hiring suggests this recovery could be a jobless one like the last one, when job growth barely improved for months after economic growth resumed.

Companies with big-market concentrations, such as Knight Ridder, are bearing the brunt of the hiring weakness. The No. 2 newspaper chain by circulation saw third-quarter retail and national advertising rise relative to last year, but not enough to offset a 24% dropoff in recruitment. Overall, KR's ad revenue declined 0.1%.

Even facing comparisons with a 50% help-wanted ad decline in last year's fourth quarter, "I don't think we'll see growth in that category this year," KR Newspaper Division President Steven B. …

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