This category covers establishments primarily engaged in providing secretarial, word processing, typing, editing, proofreading, resume writing, letter writing, stenographic, or court reporting services.
Document Preparation Services
Court Reporting and Stenotype Services
Many governmental bodies, businesses, and individuals have discovered that by outsourcing tasks like word processing, proofreading, and document transcription to specialized secretarial and court reporting services, they can save time and money, avoid adding to or straining their staff and equipment, and focus on their own core functions.
By 2002, there were approximately 3,322 commercial establishments offering secretarial and court reporting services nationwide employing about 18,000 people.
An official court reporter traditionally produces a court transcript containing such information as witness testimony, attorney arguments and examination of witnesses, and judicial comments and instructions. A freelance court reporter typically transcribes pre-trial depositions arranged by attorneys. In 2005, the National Court Reporters Association maintained approximately 26,000 members and sponsored various certification programs. Court reporting agencies generally provide some training to employees in the form of specialized shorthand reporting. Ranging from two to four years in length, these training programs focus on computer operation, grammar, law, and attaining at least 225 words per minute on a stenotype machine. Typically, employee benefits such as health insurance and pension plans are not offered.
While secretarial services perform a large portion of contracted work on their own premises, services are also provided on-site and in "satellite offices" set up within larger businesses. A contributor for Home-Office Computing reported word processing rates of $2 to $4 per page and secretarial labor rates of $15 to $20 per hour.
A vital question facing participants in this industry is how technology will alter it. Some industry observers have predicted the demise of professional services such as proofreading, editing, and court reporting due to advances in computer technology and software. For example, the use of computer software programs capable of spell checking has caused a decline in the need for proofreading services. Still, automated editing programs that can identify an...