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
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
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.