Creative Economy Takes Center Stage

Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas discusses the release of the 2019 Otis College Report on the Creative Economy. Photo by Martin Zamora/Board of Supervisors

The newly released 2019 Otis Report on the Creative Economy demonstrates the tremendous impact and influence that the creative sector has on the economies of both California and the Greater Los Angeles region, and encourages investment in arts education, economic development, and cultural planning.

The Otis College of Art and Design partnered with Beacon Economics for the first time to generate the report, and obtained support from the California Arts Council on its statewide findings.

“Working for the first time with Beacon Economics, in this eleventh year of the report, we take advantage of much learning that has evolved over the last decade,” said Otis College President Bruce W. Ferguson. “Sectors have been consolidated, race and gender are examined for the first time, and more attention has been placed on providing a richer context.

“Against the backdrop of these innovations stands the underlying truth that this report helps illuminate: Los Angeles and California are home to rich and vibrant creative communities with robust and growing economies that deserve to be taken seriously in their own right,” he added. “It is critical that leaders from public, private, and non-profit sectors work together to support this type of examination in order for the larger creative economy to continue to flourish and thrive.”

Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, who helped sponsor the research, said, “This report is an important and unique contribution that illustrates and quantifies what we’ve known to be instinctively true—an investment in our creative economy is a meaningful investment in the growing future of this region, one that’s now reached a magnitude of more than $207 billion countywide and more than $600 billion statewide. The Board of Supervisors for the County of Los Angeles will continue to do all that we can to extend our region’s cultural and creative influence as a hub for the creative economy.”

Significant findings include:

  • In total, the direct employment generated by creative industries account for around 11% of total employment in Los Angeles County, and statewide in California, creative industries were responsible for 15% of total employment overall, in terms of direct and indirect employment;
  • This impressive figure means Los Angeles County is the largest hub by employment for the creative industries in the U.S., with 10% more creative workers employed in the County than the next largest center for the creative industries in the country, New York City;
  • On average, a creative industry job is higher than the county-wide average. (Creative: $103,000 versus non-creative average: $61,000);
  • The Fashion sector in Los Angeles County employs around 24% more workers than its East Coast counterpart in New York City;
  • There has been a very robust increase in employment in the field of Architecture and Related Services & Fine Arts and Performing Arts – increasing by 32%, demonstrating the health of arts and design in Los Angeles as a key growth area in the economy.