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IT'S A DIRTY JOB, BUT IT'S PROFITABLE

The market for infant diapers grew 7.7 percent in 1992 to reach $4.5 billion in retail sales, a study by Packaged Facts, a New York research company, reveals.

The three segments in the market had very different fortunes, however. Diaper services experienced the biggest boost with a 20 percent increase. Disposables, the largest segment, grew 7 percent, and cloth, the smallest and most lethargic segment of the diaper market, remained unchanged.

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Packaged Facts President David Weiss says the growth is a result of baby boomers starting families later in life, combined with a steady birth rate among younger women.

More women in the workplace and greater concern about the environment have led to the popularity of diaper services, Mr. Weiss says.