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Printing jobs in decline nationwide and in Oregon

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Monday, May 01, 2006

Despite rising exports, Oregon’s printing industry — a part of manufacturing — lost 1,600 jobs or one-fifth of its total employment between 2001 and 2005. Similar declines occurred nationwide and the trend is expected to continue. The 2004-14 U.S. forecast calls for a 10% drop in this industry amid a 14% projected growth in the economy as a whole. In Oregon, the 10-year forecast sees a 100-job printing industry loss in spite of a 15% gain across all industries. Why the losses? The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says the decline reflects the increasing computerization of printing, growing imports of some types of printed products and expanding Internet use, reducing the need for printed materials. New technologies will require print-shop employees who want good career opportunities to gain new skills. This is especially true in the field of electronic prepress, where workers now produce entire publications on a computer, complete with artwork and graphics.

— Art Ayre, state employment economist
Oregon Employment Department
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