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Printing Workers Job Outlook

Employment of printing workers is expected to decline 4 percent from 2010 to 2020. Newspapers and magazines have seen substantial declines in print volume in recent years, as these media have increasingly moved to online formats. With a declining volume of printed material in these areas, demand for print workers has decreased.

This trend is expected to continue, which is expected to result in further employment declines in the printing industry. Employment declines for printing workers should be moderated by other segments of the industry that will likely experience steady demand, including print logistics (labels, wrappers, and packaging) and print marketing (catalogs and direct mail).

Employment of prepress technicians and workers is expected to decline 16 percent from 2010 to 2020. Computer software now allows office workers to specify text typeface and style and to format pages. This development shifts traditional prepress functions away from printing plants and toward advertising and public relations agencies, graphic design firms, and large corporations. In addition, new technologies are increasing the amount of automation in printing companies, so that it takes fewer prepress workers to accomplish the same amount of work.

The employment of printing press operators is expected to decline 1 percent from 2010 to 2020, driven by trends in the printing industry. Their employment is not expected to decline as rapidly as that of prepress technicians, however, because printing press operators are less susceptible to automation.

Employment of print binding and finishing workers is expected to decline 3 percent from 2010 to 2020. The growth of electronic books should reduce demand for print books, which will limit employment of these workers. Demand for quick turnaround for commercial printing, however, will provide some employment opportunities.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition