What the Court Reporter Shortage Means for Earnings

We’ve been talking about the court reporter shortage for quite a while but now is the time when we’re wondering what the court reporter shortage means for earnings moving forward. In the Ducker Worldwide Court Reporting Industry Outlook Report released in 2014, it was estimated that in 2018 there would be a shortage of more than 5,000 court reporters nationwide. Let’s take a look at what that really means.

Basic Economics

The law of supply and demand says that when supply is low and the demand is high, as is the case with court reporters today, prices (in this case, court reporter earnings) will also be high. That’s just basic economics.

If you’re considering becoming a court reporter or expanding your reporting business, now is the time to do so. In Oklahoma, it’s estimated that we will have a shortage of at least 80 reporters but the reality is that it could be more.

That’s because freelance court reporters are being hired to work in other states, especially rural areas, where the demand is high and there are no reporters to do the work. That means earnings also tend to be higher. While never a guarantee, basic economics indicates increased earnings in the future.

What the court reporter shortage means for earnings is that if you’re a court reporter or thinking about becoming one, you can earn more today than if you entered the field five or ten years ago. 

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the median annual wage for court reporters was $51,320 in May of 2016, increase of almost $10,000 from the Ducker report just a few years prior. The Bureau estimates the wage will continue to increase as the demand increases.

The increase in demand for court reporters is two-fold.

The average age of court reporters is in their fifties, about a decade older than the average American worker. That means they’re retiring sooner, creating a gap in the marketplace.

In addition, there is growing demand in business for professionals with court reporting skills. Real-time reporting and transcription are in high demand which creates an even larger gap between the supply and demand, further increasing earnings potential.

If you’ve ever considered becoming an Oklahoma court reporter, now is the time! Check out the National Court Reporters Association website (NCRA.org) for more information or give us a call. We’d love to talk to you about the benefits of this profession.

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