Hollywood Gets Back to Work After Strike, Adds 17,000 Jobs in November

SAG-AFTRA’s new deal finally ended the six months of strikes in November

SAG-AFTRA Strike Talks Studios AMPTP
(Getty Images, Christopher Smith/TheWrap)

Hollywood is off the picket lines and back to work.

The end of the SAG-AFTRA strike saw the motion picture and sound recording industries gain 17,000 jobs in November, the federal government’s monthly jobs report said Friday.

The Bureau of Labor statistics said the increase reflected “the resolution of labor disputes in the industry.” In total, 462,000 people were working in the industry last month..up from 431,500 in September, when both SAG-AFTRA and the WGA were on strike.

SAG-AFTRA’s strike ended on Nov. 8 when the actors union reached an unprecedented deal with studios. The contract followed a deal the Writers Guild of America reached with studios in late September.

The report was not all good news. The data showed that there are still about 25,000 fewer people working in the industry than the 487,7000 there at this time last year.

Indeed, while many movies and TV shows have restarted production, the dual strikes set things back for a good portion of the industry. Paramount’s popular “Yellowstone,” for instance won’t resume production for the second half of Season 5 until spring, the network said last month.

The slow rollout of restarts and new productions could mean continued job gains over the next few months in the industry.

Overall, the jobs report was strong, showing better-than-expected gains of 199,000 jobs, helped by the end of strikes in the auto industry. The unemployment rate fell to 3.7% overall and the number of people out of work for six months or more dropped to 1.2 million.

Average hourly earnings, a key measure to watch for its impact on inflation, edged up by 0.4% for the month and 4% from a year ago, close to what economists were predicting.

The report comes amid widespread forecasts for a recession this year or early in 2024 from Wall Street, but the U.S. economy has defied similar calls over the past two years. Federal Reserve officials are watching the jobs data closely as they make their next decision about interest rates, coming Wednesday.

The markets responded to the news positively, with the S&P 500, Dow Jones Industrial Average and Nasdaq all rising about 0.4% in morning trading. Paramount Global led industry stocks with a gain of nearly 8%.

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