NASAA Notes: August 2006


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August 11, 2006

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Positive Outlook for the Artist Labor Force

National labor market conditions improved in 2005 and continued the three- year trend of rising employment. Total civilian employment jumped from 139.3 million in 2004 to 141.7 million in 2005 and unemployment rates declined to 4.7%, from 5.1% a year earlier. According to a recent publication from the National Endowment for the Arts, the average unemployment rate for all artist occupations declined from 5.1% to 4.4% and employment rose by 36,000 workers.

Despite declines in overall artist unemployment rates, unemployment rates for some individual artist occupations remain high. Architects held the lowest unemployment rate in an art occupation, at 1.7%, while actors faced the highest unemployment rate at 25.5%.

Unemployment Rates by Occupation, 2005: Bar chart

The 2005 unemployment rates fell for musicians, singers, announcers, writers, actors, designers and authors. Unemployment rates increased for photographers, entertainers, performers, fine artists and animators, dancers and choreographers.

The Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS) predicts average employment growth for most art occupations, with wide-ranging growth rates for individual art occupations. The BLS expects high levels of employment growth for landscape architects, but declining growth for fashion designers, and TV and radio professionals. According to the report, large dance companies and troupes, movie, music video and fitness industries will drive average employment growth for dancers and choreographers. Rising production costs will limit employment growth in small and mid-sized companies. Religious organizations will provide new jobs, and drive average employment growth, for musicians and singers.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that 2,068,000 individuals held primary jobs in artist occupations. The report found that artists were twice as likely as other non-art occupations to work additional jobs.

In this Issue

Legislative Update

Executive Director's Column

Did You Know?

Frequently Asked Questions




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