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Media-Sector Jobs Picture Improved in 2012

There were 5,641 announced layoffs last year in the "media" category, down from 7,720 the year before.

The economy isn’t yet out of the woods, but there were 14 percent fewer layoffs in the U.S. in 2012 compared with 2011, and in media the improvement was substantially better than average, according to a report released Thursday.

Overall, the economy lost 523,362 jobs in 2012 compared with 606,082 the year prior, according to the firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, which uses announced layoffs in calculating its data.

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In the “media” industry – a category that includes television, movies, print journalism and music, there were 5,641 layoffs in 2012 compared with 7,720 the year before, amounting to 27 percent fewer announced layoffs year over year.

The report breaks down layoffs in 28 different industries, and only seven of them boasted fewer layoffs than media in 2012. Those industries were construction, utility, apparel, nonprofit, commodities, legal and real estate.

The three industries with the most layoffs in 2012 were computer, transportation and financial.

Broken down by state, California had the dubious distinction of creating the most layoffs, with 77,984 announced in 2012.

Challenger, Gray & Christmas also distinguishes “travel/leisure” as a distinct industry apart from media. Travel/leisure includes theme parks, hotels and such, and the category shed 13,906 jobs in 2012 compared with 15,626 jobs lost the year before.

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John Challenger, CEO of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, said a last-minute deal among lawmakers to raise taxes on high-income Americans but not on others – thus avoiding the “fiscal cliff” – might not be enough to encourage hiring.

“The deal struck on Tuesday will do little to impact the nation’s soaring debt and new battles over the debt limit and broader government spending cuts still lie ahead,” Challenger said. “As a result, the country’s employers may still lack the confidence to move forward with more aggressive hiring plans in 2013.”

The firm also tracked announced hiring-plans, though such numbers are skewed by temporary jobs filled just ahead of Christmas and lost shortly thereafter, especially in retail and transportation, the latter category including temporary help at the likes of FedEx and UPS, for example.

In media, there were only 287 announced plans to hire more employees in 2012.