Orchestra Musicians around the country have been reminding folks a lot recently on how a city’s vibrant arts scene plays such a vital role in building and sustaining an economically vibrant community. That point is driven home repeatedly to some of us every time we see the current TV ad produced for Koch Industries touting how its many and varied enterprises employ more than 60,000 people nationally. And while that figure is indeed impressive, it inspired us to do some of our own research on the economic impact of the creative arts, both locally and nationally. And in the process, we found a fascinating website from Americans for the Arts that provided some startling employment figures from none other than Dun & Bradstreet.
D&B grouped together arts businesses that range from nonprofit museums, symphonies, theaters and schools to for-profit film, architecture, and design companies, calling them The Creative Industries. And we think you’ll find both their national employment figures, as well as those for Salt Lake County, both interesting and provocative.
As of January 2014, there are 750,453 businesses in the U.S. involved in the creation or distribution of the arts that employ 3.1 million people. This represents 4.2 percent of all U.S. businesses and 2.1 percent of all U.S. employees. Locally, Salt Lake County is home to 3,147 arts-related businesses that employ 15,034 people. The Creative Industries account for 5.2 percent of the total number of businesses located here in Salt Lake County (1% higher than the national figures), and 2.6 percent of the people the county employs (.5% greater than nationally).
It is intriguing to ponder that in JUST our county, The Creative Industries alone account for fully one-fourth of the national employment figures of Koch Industries.
And this does not even begin to account for the broad ripple effects upon a myriad of other businesses that are impacted when a city boasts a vibrant professional artistic scene. Arts organizations fuel jobs, generate government revenue and are the cornerstone of tourism and downtown revitalization. Indeed, the arts – and investing in the arts – is VERY GOOD business!
Count on us to tackle THAT subject in a future issue. ϑ