Job Losses in Prepress

by admin on September 29, 2009

Jeff Lazarus points to a tweet by the Dr. Joe Webb saying that the printing industry (in North America I assume) has lost 78,900 workers in the last 12 months, 4900 in the last 30 days.
Sorry I looked for the original source on the Whattheythink web site but didn't find. But Webb is a reliable authority (as opposed to other bloggers like yours truly that don't exactly make things up but are too tired at night to do full-scale fact checking).
Note that's for printing, not for prepress. And honestly, printing covers a WIDE variety of jobs. You've got the counter people pushing business cards at Walmart, and the prepress workflow integrators putting in a VLF with fully digital workflow at a book printer: Who lost their job?
Mind you our little corner of the world is smaller than you think. How many of those printing jobs were in the prepress area? Perhaps not that many. I'm also curious to see how prepress can get downsized anymore. I can't speak for all of North America, but I know of a few shops in Vancouver where prepress is down to.... one person. So if that person calls in sick, there are no plates (unless somebody has been cross-trained). If that person wants to go on vacation, then they have to bring in somebody.
Interesting times. Yes, the company is leaner and meaner but also more fragile. I wonder how long it will be before we start seeing media articles about "the shortage of skilled workers in prepress."

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