Wednesday, April 8, 2015

New State of the Creative Economy report shows positives and challenges for New Jersey's creative sector

By Leonardo Vazquez, AICP/PP

By various measures, the creative sector is a growing part of New Jersey's economy, but the state lags behind the United States as a whole in growing its economy of creative professionals and businesses.

This is according to the State of the Creative Sector in New Jersey 2015, recently published by The National Consortium for Creative Placemaking. The report looks at trends in New Jersey's creative economy from 2002 to 2012. Among the key findings are:

More people in New Jersey are working in the creative sector. The total number of jobs, including freelancers, grew by 4% from 247,762 jobs to 257,376

There are more for profit, nonprofit, and freelance businesses in New Jersey’s creative sector. The total number of organizations grew by 27%, adding 15,042 establishments to the overall economy. This is an increase from 55,750 in 2002 to 70,792 in 2012.

Freelancers are an important indicator for the creative sector, signifying stronger confidence in the local economy. There was tremendous growth in the number of freelancers in the creative sector, with a 41% increase from 35,299 to 49,946 organizations. This is a change of 14,647 establishments.

Independent artists, writers, and performers generated more total revenue, but less income per artist. Between 2002 and 2012, total receipts grew by $39.6 million. However, per artist revenue decreased from $32,237 per year to $22,862 per year.

Similarly, the annual per employee payroll of people working in the creative sector has declined. It decreased from $34,668 per year in 2002 to $28,536 per year in 2012.

The industries that had the largest gains in the number of establishments were hair, nail, and skin services, full service restaurants, independent artists, writers, and performers, photography services, and jewelry stores.

The industries that had the greatest growth in jobs were full service restaurants, hair, nail, and skin services, independent artists, writers, and performers, fine art schools, and photography services. - Despite this growth in New Jersey’s creative sector, growth in New Jersey lagged behind that of the United States. Creative sector establishments in the US grew by 39% and creative sector jobs grew by 12%, far outpacing growth in New Jersey.

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