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UMass Donahue Institute

2017 Publication Archive

The Jobs In New England's Creative Economy and Why They Matter

The New England Foundation for the Arts released this report, created by the Insitute's Economic & Public Policy Research group, which analyzes the "creative economy" in New England and its impact on the larger economy.

The report's "key takeaways:

  • The creative economy - through creative enterprises and freelance work - employs nearly 310,000 people in New England, which puts it in about the middle of all sectors supporting regional jobs.
  • The share of creative employment and establishments (compared to other employment and establishments) is higher in New England than nationally. It is important to keep this edge to help advance awareness for and support of the arts in all forms.
  • The presence of creative enterprises in New England’s cities and towns tends to be concentrated in places with higher population and income levels.
  • A quarter of all creative workers and a third of artists are self-employed, whereas only 10 percent of New England’s overall workforce is self-employed.
  • All sectors employ - and need - creative workers. People with creative occupations like writer and designer work everywhere, not just in the arts.
  • New England has an especially high concentration of artists compared to the U.S. with a 20 percent higher prevalence of artists in its employment base.
  • There is a strong need for small business-type services for those in the creative economy, especially given the rise of self-employment to compensate for payroll employment declines. But the system is interdependent; both larger enterprises and sole proprietors require support.
  • Some industries of the creative sector have grown since the recession (film, visual and performing arts, culture and preservation) - but employment increases are modest and need to keep up with economic and audience trends in the future.

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