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Article Published: 12 Apr 2022

Arts Advocacy Update: Economic Impact Report for Arts and Cultural Sector

Latest Economic Impact Report for Arts and Cultural Sector Released; Creative Economy Shrunk at Twice the Rate of Overall Economy

The Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) under the U.S. Department of Commerce and the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) recently released economic data for 2020 that shows a decline in the production of arts and cultural goods and services as a percentage of the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP). In 2020, the overall arts and cultural sector added $876.7 billion, or 4.2 percent of the nation’s GDP. This represents an economic impact that is $43 billion lower than 2019 economic data, which showed the arts and cultural sector added 4.3 percent directly to the nation’s GDP, for a total approaching a trillion dollars ($919.7 billion).

The latest economic report indicates that the creative economy shrank at nearly twice the rate (6.4%) of the overall economy (3.4%) when adjusted for inflation. Performing arts companies joined air transportation and oil drilling/exploration as industries that suffered the steepest economic decline in 2020. Between 2019 and 2020, the creative economy shed more than 600,000 workers, not including self-employed artists and other creative workers. Employment by performing arts companies fell by 50,000 workers, not including self-employed workers. The overall unemployment rate for artists in 2021 was 7.2 percent, down from 10.3 percent in 2020, but still higher than 3.7 percent based on 2019 data. The latest report also provides state data profiles. For additional state-level resources, BEA has also produced ACPSA fact sheets for each state and, in partnership with the NEA, the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies has created an interactive dashboard by state.

OPERA America encourages its members and interested stakeholders within the opera community to leverage these resources for their federal, state, and local advocacy efforts to advance the policy interests of the opera community and to secure additional support during and beyond the current pandemic. Inquiries can be directed to Tony Shivers, OA Director of Government Affairs, at TShivers@operaamerica.org.