While September marked an uptick in overall hiring in the U.S. last month, the information sector saw the number of workers employed plummet.
The information sector comprises jobs in a variety of roles from communications and data technology to the motion picture and sound recording industries. Despite all other industries experiencing hiring growth throughout the month, the information sector lost 5,000 jobs. The Labor Department said the losses centered around the motion picture and sound recording industries, “reflecting the impact of labor disputes.”
Starting in May, employment in the information field dropped by 45,000 with a large number of Hollywood writers and actors on strike. The Screen Actors Guild (SAG) strike began on July 14, with both the guild and producers said to still be in negotiations this week. The Writers Guild of America strike ended, but not without financial impact.
In the first 100 days of the Writers Guild of America strike that began on May 2, the California economy was estimated to have lost $3 billion. Actors are continuing to demand better working conditions, from improvements in audition processes and protections against artificial intelligence technology.
When the COVID-19 pandemic started, actors were forced to self-film auditions, which was a more time-consuming process, often meaning actors also had to work as directors and camera operators.
Meanwhile, AI has been used by studios without actors’ consent and without them earning any profit from their own image or likeness within the new and growing technology field.
The Screen Actors Guild represents roughly 160,000 actors, with the average pay for an actor at about $27.73 an hour, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
“Everything that you watch, that you enjoy, that you’re entertained by are scenes filled with people that are not making the big money,” SAG President Fran Drescher told CNN.
Overall Job Growth
While the information sector could not keep up with the number of jobs reported nationwide, the majority of industries hired a higher number than expected.
Altogether, 336,000 jobs were added in September, which beat prior estimates from Refinitiv by nearly double. The unemployment rate hovered at about 3.8 percent.
“It was a blockbuster jobs report, but just as important was how well-rounded hiring was,” Robert Frick, corporate economist with the Navy Federal Credit Union, told Fox Business. “Health care jobs no longer stole the spotlight, but the long-awaited surge in government hiring has started, and leisure and hospitality got a second wind, along with staffing up at bars and restaurants.”
The jump was sparked by a surge in hiring in health care of 40,900, with the industry previously facing high numbers of resignations and burnout during the pandemic.
Leisure and hospitality were at the top, adding 96,000 jobs. Bars and restaurants gave the biggest boost to the industry, with many moving away from the labor shortages they faced during the pandemic.
Government jobs came in second, with 73,000 employees hired in September, mainly in education as teachers returned for the school year.