The Otis Report Finds LA Creative Sector Booming

Jennifer Ricci
The Associated Press
Newport Beach, CA

The Los Angeles region’s creative sector is economically booming with employment hitting an all-time high, according to the just-released 2018 Otis Report on the Creative Economy.

The Otis College of Art and Design’s annual economic study found that California’s creative sector’s direct and indirect generates about $407 billion in economic output and employed about 1.6 million people that were paid $151 billion in total labor income in 2016.

California’s creative sector direct employment for the same period hit an all-time-high of 789,900, up from its pre-financial crisis record high in of 767,000 in 2007. California creative employment is almost 66 percent higher than the 477,300 for runner-up New York State, and more than triple the 230,500 for the State of Texas.

The LA Region also has the largest economic concentration of creative sector workers in the nation at 8.8 percent, versus 6.3 percent for the New York metro area in 2016.

Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation that is contracted to prepare the analysis defines the creative sector as including architecture, the arts, communications, digital media, entertainment, fashion, industrial design, decorative arts publishing, toy design and performing arts.

California’s largest direct job generators for the creative sector were 192,300 for entertainment, 160,200 in publishing and printing, 120,700 in fashion in 2016. The three industries as a group accounted for 59.4 percent of California’s direct creative jobs.

The Los Angeles Times reported that the creative economy experiences significant recovery and growth between 2011 and 2016. A big part of that growth was 179,200 freelance workers earning $8.5 billion that were not directly employed by a company.

Breitbart News has reported on the growth of so-called “gig economy” workers that provide entrepreneurs flexible employees but also slashes the overhead benefit costs and the potential for employment rights litigation. According to the MBO Partners State of Independence in America 2017 Report, gig-employees now account for 41 million workers and about 31 percent of the private U.S. workforce.

The Otis College emphasized the integration between STEM — science, technology, engineering, and mathematics — with increasing attendance in arts courses for K-12 education to facilitate students gaining the creativity and move towards high-earning creative industries.

One of the speakers representing tech entrepreneurs from Southern California’s booming Silicon Beach quoted Pablo Picasso, “Every child is an artist, the problem is staying an artist when you grow up.”

Funding for the 2018 Otis Report on the Creative Economy was provided by California Arts Council, City National Bank, City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs, Marsh, Mattel and Moss Adams.

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