- The Washington Times - Friday, September 17, 2004

The advertising industry in Washington has become a powerful force in the region’s economy, accounting for more than 421,000 jobs and generating $79 billion in annual revenue, according to a new study by the Advertising Tax Coalition.

The advertising industry accounts for 18 percent of the area’s total economic activity of $440 billion and represents about 14 percent of the nearly 3 million jobs in the area, the study said. The coalition, which commissioned the study, is composed of major trade associations. It was formed to protect advertising from being taxed and regulated.

“The advertising industry in Washington, D.C., is alive and kicking, creating substantial job opportunities and revenue growth for our community,” said Cary Hatch, president and chief executive of MDB Communications in the District and chairman of Advertising Week in Washington, D.C. “Now we just need to be vocal about our accomplishments, spreading the news that D.C. is a vibrant advertising market.”

The study was released in conjunction with “Advertising Week in Washington D.C.,” which begins Monday.

The inaugural program was designed to celebrate and promote the industry. Organizations will host events to spotlight the achievements of the industry, showcase work and highlight the effect of the industry on the region.

The study examined the jobs and sales created directly and indirectly by advertising. The sales generated by advertising set off a chain reaction throughout the economy, creating jobs with vendors, wholesalers, packagers, transporters of goods, service providers and others.

The latest Washington-area figures show a significant increase from five years ago — the first and last time such a study was done. The number of jobs increased 6 percent and revenue increased 29.5 percent from $61 billion.

Over the past five years, the ad industry has experienced some hard times, particularly during the recession and after the September 11 terrorist attacks. When economic times are tough, companies tend to slash their marketing budgets.

“For an industry to report a nearly 30 percent increase despite the economic downswing following September 11 is truly remarkable,” said Jim Davidson, founder of Washington public policy firm Davidson & Co. and a representative of the Advertising Tax Coalition.

“It speaks to the strength of the advertising and media industry in this region and it is a microcosm of the importance of advertising to the national economy.”

A more extensive study outlining the effects of advertising in all 50 states will be released in the fall, Mr. Davidson said.

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