The Breakdown

Explaining Southern California's economy

Report draws picture of California's 'creative economy' (Full report)

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California’s creative culture is often linked with Hollywood movies, and the music business. Or Silicon Valley, and its social networks.  

But a new report released today shows that California's creative jobs stem from a wide range of industries, and together, contributed $155 billion to the state's economy in 2012.

There is no official definition of a creative economy, but Craig Watson, director of the California Arts Council, said it includes professionals who put a premium on art and expression — "whether it’s a furniture designer, an automotive designer, a fashion designer, gaming designer."

His agency and toymaker Mattel were lead sponsors of the statewide report. The study — called the Otis Report on the Creative Economy — is the seventh annual survey commissioned by the Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles. 

This year marked the first time the report examined the entire state, instead of keeping its usual focus on southern California. And it concluded that creative industries are just as vital statewide, as they are in the LA area.

"Nearly 8 percent of the state’s product or revenue comes from the creative sector," Watson said.  "We can say definitely that this is a sector to try to grow. This is a sector to pay attention to."

Other findings:

  • The biggest creative industries in the state are entertainment, publishing and printing and fashion
  • Creative industries are responsible for 1 in 10 jobs in the state
  • Los Angeles accounts for 44 percent of the workers in creative occupations

Lead author Robert Kleinhenz, chief economist at the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp., found that many jobs in the creative industries are often quite lucrative.

The annual average salary in digital media was nearly $163,000 compared to the average California wage of roughly $56,000.

Salaries for toy designers averaged nearly $99,000.

"It’s not like everybody is a starving actor or actress or writer," Kleinhenz said.

The hope is that the report will be used by policymakers to make the case for arts education and vocational training in the arts such as graphic design. The report also recommends making it easier for businesses in the creative industries to tap into investment money.

"Oftentimes, the arts are overlooked and we’re trying to draw attention to that to fundamentally raise our community’s understanding of it," Kleinhenz said.

To that end, Kleinhenz will be part of a group presenting the report on Feb. 12 to state legislators on the Joint Committee on the Arts chaired by Sen. Ted Lieu, D-Torrance.

2013-Otis Report on the Creative Economy by scprweb


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