New Data Elevate the Importance of the Arts in State Economies

Updated Creative Economy State Profiles are now available, with information that describes the value of arts and cultural production along with job and compensation data in every state in 2021. These data, published by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), are a trusted source for measuring the value of the creative economy.

In 2021, arts and cultural production accounted for:

  • over $1 trillion in value added to the U.S. economy
  • 4.4% of U.S. gross domestic product
  • 4.9 million jobs

The 2021 data offers additional information about the ongoing recovery of the arts sector following the pandemic. After declining precipitously in 2020, arts and cultural production were at a higher rate than the overall economy in 2021. Using inflation-adjusted numbers, the U.S. arts economy grew over 14% while the economy as a whole grew around 10%.

This growth in arts and cultural production is good news for state economies overall. Research confirms that the arts can improve—not merely reflect—the health of the broader economy and that the arts offer economic diversification and can help state economies rapidly recover from economic downturns.

While the arts economy gained back 260,000 workers, arts employment is still 300,000 below 2019 levels. Some industries within the arts lost jobs in 2021. Public cultural institutions saw a decline in employment from 2020 to 2021 and broadcasting also saw a slight decline. Arts employment numbers do not count self-employed artists/cultural workers, who are not picked up in the data.

How to Use NASAA’s Creative Economy State Profiles

NASAA’s Creative Economy State Profiles help to make data from the BEA’s Arts and Cultural Production Satellite Account (ACPSA) more accessible and engaging. Produced in cooperation with the National Endowment for the Arts, this interactive dashboard provides information in a visual format to describe the creative economy in every state.

Your state’s creative economy story is unique, and this tool allows you to explore and share that story with key decision makers. Use the Creative Economy State Profiles to understand:

  • the total value of arts and cultural production in every state, as well as the nation
  • total employment and compensation associated with arts and cultural production, by state and nationally
  • profiles of the arts and culture alongside other key industry sectors in your state (mining, agriculture, construction, retail and more)
  • regional views of how your state compares to your neighbors
  • creative economy performance versus overall state economic performance over time
  • high-performing creative industries in your state

Designed to complement the NEA’s suite of ACPSA resources, this interactive dashboard is one of many tools to help state arts agencies and arts advocates understand and communicate accurate data about your state’s creative economy.

Please view and explore NASAA’s Creative Economy State Profiles, and don’t hesitate to contact me for help using this information in your state.

Ryan Stubbs
Senior Director of Research