California’s Creative Economy Surpassed the Total Economy

California's Creative Economy Surpassed the Total Economy in the State After the Pandemic, Despite the Unproportional Influence on Culture Sector.

Mar 1, 2023By Angela Davic, News, Discoveries, In-depth Reporting, and Analysis
California's Creative Economy
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art


California’s creative economy shows great results after the pandemic. Recovery took about two years, but progress is finally visible. Results show creative economy surpassed the total growth, regardless of the disproportionate influence on cultural areas. Creative economy includes five sectors: entertainment, arts, architecture, creative goods and products and fashion.


California’s Creative Economy Rise After the Great Fall

California’s Creative Economy
Otis College of Art and Design’s main quad. Courtesy of Otis College.


Overall, the information stated above is from the “Otis College Report on the Creative Economy”, a yearly analysis by the Los Angeles arts school. By the report, the creative economy is a great percentage of 14.9 percent. In cash, this is $507.4 billion from the state’s $3.4 trillion economy. Also, when we look at the labor market and the number of people employed in the creative sector, 7.6 percent of the jobs are there.


Overall, this annual report the Otis college publishes annually monitors the development of the state and cities. Of all sectors, fine and performing arts suffered greatest lost in the pandemic. During the economic crisis, many workers lost their jobs. Exhibitions, museums, and music were all cancelled. Also, it caused a 20% decline in employment between 2019 and 2020. Now, we can see it thriving.


Otis report
California creative economy employment change by major sub-sector: 2015-2021. (UCR Center for Economic Forecasting & Development)


Moreover, direct employment fell by 3.3% in 2020 in the industry’s largest area by far—entertainment and digital media. But after the pandemic, this sector showed the greatest growth in employment. For instance, employment in the motion picture and video production industry in L.A. County increased by 19% between 2020 and 2021 following a decline of 13% in 2020.

Get the latest articles delivered to your inbox

Sign up to our Free Weekly Newsletter


Skin Care Popularity During the Pandemic

County Museum of Art
County Museum of Art


The report also compares Los Angeles to New York, which are the two most important cultural centers in America. Another important study demonstrates that California’s creative sector employed more than 5.1 million people. These workers contributed $978.6 billion to the economy overall and generated $194.1 billion in taxes. This is a big improvement over the previous year.


Just 3.9 million people were employed in the creative industry in 2022, which generated $687.6 billion in overall economic activity and $128 billion in taxes. While other sectors fell in economic growth, cosmetics and skin care gained great popularity. In this sector, employment during the pandemic was higher than before it. It was 8.3 percent higher.


Natural History Museum
Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County


Architecture sector also noted great growth. Los Angeles reversed the existing projections that there will be a decline in employment in 2020. “The past three years have been a period of reflection and adaptation”, read a statement accompanying the report, “which yielded an important insight: the economic value of the creative sectors extends far beyond the production of artistic and cultural goods or the employment of creative people”.

Author Image

By Angela DavicNews, Discoveries, In-depth Reporting, and AnalysisAngela is a journalism student at the Faculty of Political Science in Belgrade and received a scholarship for continued education in Prague. She completed her internship at the daily newspaper DANAS and worked as an executive editor at Talas.