Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Urgent: Gannett's workforce contracts just 1%; document leaves unanswered USCP questions

Gannett employed 30,700 workers at the end of last year, down just 300 from 2011, according to a new regulatory filing. It was the smallest annual reduction since Corporate began a series of massive layoffs in 2006 as revenue plunged across the newspaper industry.

While overall employment fell just 1%, changes to the workforce varied dramatically by division. And the document, the annual 10-K report yesterday afternoon to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, didn't fully account for some of the changes.

In GCI's biggest operating unit, the 81-daily U.S. community newspaper division, employment totaled 18,100 at the end of 2012, down 2,800, or 13%, from 2011.

But it's unclear where all those job losses took place. The division's figures included Gannett Publishing Services, which handles printing, distribution and other functions for newspapers inside and outside the company. The division doesn't include USA Today, however.

GPS employed 7,200 at the end of 2012, down just 500 positions from 2011, according to the 10-Ks for both years. That suggests the community papers gave up the other 2,300 positions -- a huge loss that hasn't been revealed before now.

Newsquest down, broadcasting flat
The 10-K doesn't detail employment for individual newspapers. The community papers include big titles, such as The Arizona Republic in Phoenix and The Indianapolis Star, plus smaller dailies such as New York's Elmira Star-Gazette and Florida's Pensacola News Journal.

The 17-title U.K. newspaper division, Newsquest, had 4,300 employees at year end, down 4% from 2011.

Broadcasting, which includes 23 TV stations, employed 2,600 at the end of the year -- a 1.1% annual increase, according to the 10-K. (That's puzzling, however; the division also had 2,600 at the end of 2011, according to that year's 10-K.)

CareerBuilder, the employment site, had 2,200 workers at the end of last year, up from 2,000 in 2011. GCI owns slightly more than 50% of CareerBuilder, so counts all its employees as GCI's.

In another sign of workforce stability, GCI hasn't imposed unpaid one-week furloughs during the current quarter. That was a big shift from 2009-2011, when most or all employees were furloughed during the first quarter of each of those three years.

The relative stability to GCI's global workforce in 2012 came as overall revenue rose 2.2%, to $5.35 billion, from 2011 -- the first annual increase since 2006.

Still, last year's employment decline to 30,700 was the seventh consecutive year of reductions. In 2005, the last year the workforce grew, GCI employed 52,600 workers. But that year, the company reported overall revenue of $7.6 billion.

Related: spreadsheet shows annual employment, 1994-2012.


  1. I only know that many people lost there jobs at GPS last year. Is it possible that they transferred more people from GCI to GPS during the year? That would result in GPS only showing a few hundred less employees. There may have been more people let go than had been reported.

  2. They didn't replace me when I left. I'm sure I'm not the only one. It's easy to cut count by attrition.

  3. GPS let me go and out sourced my job.

  4. I see a lot of nebulous new digital titles being created at my site, yet they don't seem to speed up the process of getting news on line, unless it is something obvious and dramatic, (fire, murder, big crash), other wise the process is snail like at best. Old news lingers on the mobile and desktop sites like smell leftovers, I don't see this on other media sites. What the hell are these digital geniuses doing? Isn't this supposed to be the future and savior of the company? Meanwhile there are at least one open AME and copy editing position desperately needing bodies. Hey, it's all in reach!

  5. Those numbers will accelerate this year as USA Today starts a long overdue downsizing. Kramer cannot avoid it much longer.

  6. My observations, 9:12, were that it simply was easy to slack off while working at Gannett. No accountability, even under the skeleton-crew conditions of recent years. Work hard when the pressure's on, but when it's off, it's slack time. And that would account for stale news sitting on the sites. Of course, when you cut the reporting staffs like has been done, there's going to be less news to post in the first place.

  7. 8:33, Your statement makes perfect sense. There have been shifts between company divisions for years now. And, most likely that is what happened.


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