Court reporter salaries are driven by a variety of factors but the biggest influence is the increased demand and decreased supply of reporters. If you recall your Economics classes, as demand increases and supply decreases, the cost of goods, or in this case, services, increases.
Court Reporter Salaries
An estimated court reporter shortage of more than 5,500 nationwide by the end of 2018, including nearly 200 in North Carolina, means increased opportunities for many reporters. [Source]
A shortage of court reporters nationwide could, at least in theory, shutdown or hinder the legal process. In some states, there are changes in place which allow for the recording of certain types of cases that are transcribed when there is a reporter available. Some are forced to pay higher rates to freelance reporters to simply keep the system moving ahead.
In other places, they’re increasing salaries to keep court reporters from moving to other counties or states. It’s a problem that we’re likely to see happening more as the shortage hits rural and urban counties especially if salaries aren’t increased. [Source]
Bottom line is that court reporters are essential to the legal system so we’ve got to find ways to keep them employed in the courts even in the face of demand outside the system.
Businesses, communities, professional sports, and politicians are seeking transcriptionists for live and recorded events and it’s putting a bigger strain on an already in-demand pool of professionals.
Economics of Court Reporting
When the economy is down or slow-growth, we often experience a slowdown in the need for services. This is because industries like insurance have less cash to spend or pay out in claims; they’re more likely to settle out of court to keep costs lower. Once the economy picks up, we become a more litigious society.
While we don’t experience it as much here in North Carolina, California leads the nation with as many as a million frivolous court cases annually. While that’s a lot of work for reporters, it puts a strain on the system.
Increased demand, the economy, and industry trends are driving court reporter salaries. If you’re thinking about a new career, it’s time to explore court reporting!