Study: 'Creative economy' sees large job loss

Orange County's visual and performing arts workforce slashed nearly a third between 2007 and 2010.

December 22, 2011|From the Los Angeles Times
  • The smallest Otis job category is art galleries, which suffered. The report identified 258 galleries in the two counties in 2010, down from 343 in 2007. L.A. County lost nearly 20% of its galleries — a rate of attrition eclipsed by Orange County's 41%. Employment was nearly halved over three years, from 1,500 jobs in the two counties to 800. Otis found that the average Los Angeles gallery employee makes $54,767; Orange County peers got $31,139.
The smallest Otis job category is art galleries, which… (KYLE BURLINGTON,…)

The Los Angeles area's arts and entertainment industries lost thousands of jobs from 2007 to 2010, according to a study of the "creative economy."

The findings for 2010 commissioned by Otis College of Art and Design and compiled from state and federal government figures by the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp. showed a loss of 21,500 jobs and an 11% decline in employment in the three years.

Known as the Otis Report on the Creative Economy of Los Angeles and Orange Counties, the study encompasses both traditional arts and entertainment categories and five additional fields that the researchers consider to be part of the region's broader creative economy.

The traditional fields — architecture/interior design, art galleries, digital media, television/film/recordings and visual and performing arts — accounted for 171,700 workers in the two counties in 2010, down from 193,200 three years earlier. Taking advertising/graphic design, furniture, fashion, toys and product/industrial design into account, the 2010 creative jobs total comes to 338,000 — down 13.4% from the 390,300 jobs identified in the Otis report for 2007.


Otis has been issuing its annual reports since 2007, aiming to give advocates for the arts and other creative fields statistical ammunition for persuading public officials to adopt arts-friendly policies.

There is no line item for what movie and rock stars, their agents and managers are paid; they are combined with workers in the largely nonprofit, less remunerative worlds of museums, theater and dance. That visual and performing arts category suffered a 6.8% job loss over the three years, but average pay in Los Angeles County increased to $199,047 — a 32% raise from the 2007 level.

The report says the nearly $200,000 average salary in visual and performing arts in L.A. County is skewed upward by big names from Hollywood.

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