N.C. Creative Industry $41 Billion, Employs Nearly 300,000

CHARLOTTE (Nov. 24.)  – N.C. Department of Cultural Resources Secretary Linda A. Carlisle today unveiled the findings of new research which shows that the Creative Industry in North Carolina accounts for nearly 300,000 jobs, just over 5 ½ percent of the state’s workforce, and contributes $41.4 billion to North Carolina’s economy.   

The new study, “Creativity Means Business: Economic Contributions of North Carolina’s Creative Industry,” was prepared by the Policy, Research, and Strategic Planning Division of the N.C. Department of Commerce.  The analysis follows Creative Economy research commissioned in 2007 by the North Carolina Arts Council. 

“People with creative ideas, innovators, and entrepreneurs bring investment and jobs to our communities,” said Gov. Bev Perdue. “This report highlights the creative spark in North Carolina, and will be a big help in economic development.”

Other findings in the report include:

• Overall, North Carolina’s creative economy is 5.86 percent of the state’s gross domestic product.
• The Creative Industry accounts for more than $10 billion dollars in employee compensation annually.
• Nearly 5 percent of the state’s total wages and benefits comes from the Creative Industry.

“Our creative industry is robust, and this important study underscores its role in North Carolina’s future,” said Carlisle. “Creativity in the workforce stimulates new products and services, and helps make North Carolina the most competitive it can be in the global economy.”

The Creative Industry is comprised of a wide range of occupations, 109 in all for the purposes of the study.  The list includes not only painters, potters, and musicians, but architects, designers, writers for new and traditional media, art teachers, software engineers, and the workers in the film industry. 

Creativity at Work
The report states that the products and services of more than 100 creative industries related to Arts, Libraries and History contribute significantly to North Carolina’s vitality, and goes on to say:

• The presence of creative professionals in a given county is the single most important factor associated with the amount that visitors will spend.
• Counties with higher proportions of workers in arts-related occupations are more likely to retain current residents and attract new ones.
• The creative workforce provides a competitive edge to North Carolina products and services.
• Creative workers are found not only in cultural industries but also contribute to the success of other businesses.
• The over $1 billion historic preservation industry relies on essential occupations such as artisans, skilled trades people, researchers, archaeologists, architects, and designers.
• Photographers, musicians, writers, actors, dancers, publishers, and producers are some of the occupations included in the arts industry alone; in 2006 they infused more than $3.9 billion into North Carolina’s economy.
• Librarians, archivists, educators, service professionals, and administrators facilitate the development of the creative economy.
• The people and companies who produce creative products and use creativity in their work include micro-enterprises, freelancers, and entrepreneurs, so the reported jobs are vastly underestimated.

The creative industry is a network of nearly 50,000 inter-related employers and over 100 national industry classification codes. Unlike newer industries, creative industries for the most part have been sustaining communities for generations. The creation, production, dissemination, inputs and support activities are broad and diverse.

Creative workers are also key to cultural tourism in North Carolina.  Their presence is the single most important factor associated with the amount visitors will spend in an area.  In North Carolina, previous studies show that cultural travelers spend nearly twice as much person, per day, as general travelers. 

Earlier studies have also identified that the presence of creative workers in a community is strongly associated with rising household incomes, and that the creative workforce provides a competitive edge to North Carolina products and services. 

“In the coming year, I look forward to working with economic development professionals, small business owners, educators, and partners in and out of state government as we move forward,” Carlisle said.  “We will continue to work to position North Carolina to capitalize on creative industries to retain workers and attract new entrepreneurial opportunities.” 

For more information, go to http://www.ncarts.org/creative_economy. The site also has Creative Workforce profiles from across North Carolina.

The N.C. Department of Cultural Resources is the state agency with the mission to enrich lives and communities, and the vision to harness the state’s cultural resources to build North Carolina’s social, cultural and economic future. Information is available 24/7 at www.ncculture.com.  

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