The pandemic has battered California’s creative economy. Here are the sectors hardest hit and those that have resisted the most


The fine and performing arts have gone from one of the fastest growing sectors of California’s creative economy to one that has seen the biggest decline in employment during the pandemic, according to a new study. from the Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles.

The sector’s workforce contracted 19.4% due to the economic shutdown, accounting for 76,000 jobs statewide in 2020.

Other creative fields have proven more resilient. Although entertainment and digital media fell 3.3% in 2020, largely due to changes in entertainment content production, it remains California’s strongest sector. It employed nearly one million workers statewide in 2020, largely concentrated in Los Angeles County and the Bay Area.

Meanwhile, the architecture and associated services have also proven particularly strong in the wake of COVID-19. The industry’s workforce of 225,850 Californians in 2020 reflected only a 2.2% decline from the previous year.

Courtesy of Otis College of Art and Design.

“The creative economy is home to both some of the sectors hardest hit by the COVID-19 recession, such as the fine and performing arts, as well as sectors that have been able to pivot and grow, such as the entertainment and digital media, adapting business models. to changing consumer demand,” the report reads.

The creative goods and products sector accounted for the largest single-year job loss in California, with a reduction of about 4,000 jobs, or 10.4%, in 2020. But the pandemic has only done accelerating employment trends that had already been in motion for years. Hit by broader manufacturing issues, the sector employs only about 35,000 people in California.

Likewise, fashion has also been in a long and steady decline in the state for years. Employing 52,000 workers in 2020, the sector saw a contraction in jobs of 14.4% compared to the previous year due to the pandemic.

The picture becomes more complex when broken down by region. Before the pandemic, only the Bay Area, Capital Region and San Diego saw employment increase between 2007 and 2020. And while the Bay Area and Southern California account for 80% of jobs in the Statewide creative economy, “the center of gravity appears to be shifting away from Hollywood and toward Silicon Valley,” the report said.

Once home to the largest workforce in California’s creative economy, Southern California has seen a significant contraction in employment due to both the pandemic and trends in the fashion and creative goods and products. The Bay Area’s creative industries, on the other hand, “continue to grow given the region’s strong technology base and strong presence in digital media.”

As the pandemic enters its third year, the report says, “It is more critical than ever that stakeholders in California’s creative economy engage in evidence-based discussions about how the State can support and foster the inclusive development of our creative economy and implement strategies and policies that ensure its future economic value.

The creative economy was responsible for a total Gross Regional Product (GRP) impact of $687.6 billion in 2020, equivalent to about 23% of the state’s GRP.

It directly employs nearly 1.4 million people and supports a total of 3.9 million workers across the state. The creative economy outpaces other industrial sectors like government, manufacturing, healthcare and retail, sectors that often benefit from economic development, talent development and political support more important.

According to the report, for every 100 jobs in the creative industry, an additional 180 jobs are supported in other sectors of the California economy. The economic activity generated by California’s creative economy was worth more than $122.7 billion in taxes for all levels of government in 2020. In total, each job supported by industry activity generated $31,461 additional tax revenue.

To follow Artnet News on Facebook:

Want to stay one step ahead of the art world? Subscribe to our newsletter to receive breaking news, revealing interviews and incisive reviews that move the conversation forward.


Comments are closed.