Printing workers publish books, magazines, pamphlets, newspapers and other written materials. There are three primary types of printing workers. Prepress technicians organize and review text and images before they are printed; printing press operators run and maintain the presses; and binding and finishing workers organize printed materials into finished products and, in the case of magazines and books, bind them.
As of 2012, prepress technicians earned an average of $18.76 per hour and $39,020 per year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. By state, salaries ranged from a high of $46,570 in Minnesota to a low of $24,470 in Mississippi. Because of very high salaries for federal workers, the District of Columbia reported an average salary of $71,250 for prepress technicians.
Printing Press Operators
Printing press operators reported an average hourly income of $17.35 and an average annual salary of $36,090 in 2012. Once again, the average salary of those working in Washington, D.C. reported a salary far above the national average, $70,140 per year, due to the high salaries of federal print workers. State average salaries ranged from $47,890 in Alaska to $27,120 in Mississippi, with the lowest average salary – $25,860 – reported in the territory of Puerto Rico.
Binding and Finishing Workers
Binding and finishing workers were the lowest-paid printing workers in 2012, averaging $15.17 per hour and $31,560 per year. The District of Columbia again posted a very high average salary, $62,210, while those in Puerto Rico earned a very low average $18,790. The highest-paying state for this occupation was Maryland, at $39,660. Wyoming was the lowest-paying state for binding and finishing workers, where the average annual income was $21,550.
The printing industry has been hit hard in recent years by the increased use of the Internet. Newspaper circulation is down, and book publishers must compete with e-readers. As a result, the printing industry is contracting. Jobs for printing workers are expected to decline by four percent through 2020. Prepress technicians will be hit especially hard, with an expected loss of 8,100 jobs. Approximately 2,900 printing press operator positions are expected to disappear, along with 1,700 jobs for binding and finishing workers.
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