Philly's creative sector employed 17,699 people in 2008, says report - Philly


Dec. 27, 2010 11:00 am

Philly’s creative sector employed 17,699 people in 2008, says report

The creative economies of Philadelphia are still small but jobs in those sectors held relatively stable during the build up to the Great Recession


The creative economies of Philadelphia are still small but jobs in those sectors held relatively stable during the build up to the Great Recession, according to a William Penn Foundation-funded report released last week. The creative economy included jobs like graphic designers and animators and spanned from 2006 to 2008.

Commissioned by the Mayor’s Office of the Arts, Culture and Creative Economy and its chief Gary Steuer, the Nutter administration quickly trumpeted the research as showing a vibrant creative community.

Tech examples of the 36 employment types included in the research:

Job | 2006 employment | 2007 | 2008

Audio and Video Equipment Technicians 302 | 300 | 27

Broadcast Technicians 317 | 306 | 279

Film and Video Editors 74 | 70 | 8

Graphic Designers 1,170 | 1,172 | 1,143

Multi-Media Artists and Animators 362 | 363 | 375

Sound Engineering Technicians 87 | 83 | 106

The report showed a region that spent money on the creative arts above the national average but was still behind in those sector jobs. More up to date numbers, which will reflect more of the pains from the current recession, are due out in the spring.

From Inquirer columnist Mike Armstrong’s take:

The index consists of two parts: employment in the arts, and community participation in them through recipients of that consumer spending.

Philadelphia’s strength is the revenue generated by the nonprofit arts groups and other cultural institutions that incorporate the arts into their activities, such as museums and performing-arts schools. For example, Philadelphia nonprofit arts organizations generated 2008 revenue of $347 million, or $239.74 on a per-capita basis. That was good enough for an indexed score of 5.02, or five times the national baseline.


For an 11-county Philadelphia region, the CVI score was 1.11, putting the region 16th on a list of metropolitan areas with vibrant creative sectors. I would not have guessed that No. 1 was the Washington area, with a score of 2.52. My money was on Los Angeles (No. 2 with a CVI of 2.32) or New York (No. 3 at 2.20). MORE

The index included 36 types of employment The report also featured profiles of organizations that exemplified the industries, including design and artistic manufacturing space Next Fab Studio and event series DesignPhiladelphia. [Full Disclosure: Next Fab is an advertiser.]

As the Art Blog notes, this report comes less than a month before the announcement of first-round winners of the Knight Arts Challenge in Philadelphia.

Find the full report here [PDF].

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