Friday, December 18, 2009

Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to be mail sorters

Several industries and occupations related to printed materials will be among those with the worst job losses through 2018, a new government report predicts. As if we didn’t already know that.

The Postal Service, printing, and newspaper publishing will be in the top 10 for employment declines between 2008 and 2018, the Bureau of Labor Statistics report says.

The 30 occupations with the largest projected decreases during that period include “postal service mail sorters, processors, and processing machine operators” (-30%); “paper goods machine setters, operators, and tenders” (-21%); “postal service clerks” (-18%); and “mail clerks and mail machine operators, except postal service” (-11%).

Oddly enough, the predictions, if accurate, might actually be good news for some of the industries and their employees. They indicate that the rapid employment declines of the past year will taper off.

For example, the report predicts the U.S. Postal Service’s employment will decline 13%, from 748,000 in 2008 to 650,000 in 2018; USPS is already about halfway there. Postal officials’ presentations indicate they will finish 2010 with about 650,000 employees, and it seems likely that downsizing will continue in subsequent years.

However, the BLS does seem to be on target with its projection that the bulk of USPS job cuts will occur among non-supervisory employees who do not deliver the mail. Letter carriers, it predicts, will decrease by only 1% and represent the vast majority of new USPS hires.

The projected decreases of 25% for newspapers and 16% for printers don’t seem so big when you consider the cuts they have already made during this recession-racked year. And the 8% decrease in “reporters and correspondents” since 2008 has probably already happened.

For further reading:


writer(s) said...

If I was working as a mail carrier, I would be a bit annoyed that, over the years, my coworkers and I have evolved from grudgingly respected agents of the USPS to carriers of mostly junk mail and Netflix DVD/Blu Ray Discs. The Web, crafty business people and private shipping companies seem to have taken a big bite out of any reasonably positive perceptions that mail carriers use to enjoy. "Don't let your babies grow up to be mail sorters? It looks that way.

Anonymous said...

I love that song!