It might seem like people stuck at home might want to read and watch the media more, but the industry suffered a record 30,711 job cuts in 2020, a stunning rise of 201 percent from the previous year, when 10,201 jobs went away.
The figures, published on Jan. 7 by outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas and reported by the New York Post, included jobs numbers from the news business, advertising, TV and films.
Last year’s terrible results topped the previous all-time record of 28,802 jobs lost in 2008 at the height of the Great Recession.
Staff reductions in newsrooms, whether TV, digital or printed news, accounted for more than half the losses, or some 16,180 jobs.
Newsrooms from Buzzfeed to Vice began laying off staff in droves when the pandemic hit in March and dried up advertising revenue. While some publishers, like Conde Nast and Meredith, have since reversed pay cuts imposed earlier this year, not every organization has been able to follow suit. A steep, 23-percent pay cut at the National Enquirer parent company A360 Media remains in place, for example.
Plus, very few companies appear to be adding back furloughed staff. The Challenger, Gray & Christian report found the media industry has only announced plans to add back 1,615 jobs over 2020.
Despite the first round of vaccines reaching consumers in December, the nation continues to wrestle with the economic fallout of ever rising cases. The Interactive Advertising Bureau, meanwhile, is predicting a mere 5.3 percent increase in ad spending in 2021.