A whopping one in every six people in the Los Angeles region is employed in a creative field–and often quite comfortably, say the authors of the recently-published 2009 Otis Report on the Creative Economy of the Los Angeles Region. Creativity in Los Angeles, they add, “generates a huge number of jobs and tax flows with little or no encouragement.” The third annual report, which is conducted by the Otis College of Art and Design (and thanks to a hefty gift of $1.85 million from Mattel) positions L.A. at the center of a perfect storm when it comes to competitiveness: powerhouse colleges and universities, the cultivation of new industries like gaming which bring highly-trained workers to the area, and a relatively economically-stable talent base that continues to pump money into the economy.
By far, the best employment news in the report is for the digital media industries, a local industry that’s seen tremendous growth in the last few years (the report even publishes a comprehensive list of local gaming companies). The study projects an incredible 10% increase in employment for digital artists from now through 2013, including animators, digital effects artists, and motion graphics artists.
L.A. definitely seems to be the independent artist capital of the world: Another group examined by the study was the growth of “nonemployer” firms, or firms with
revenues but no paid employees, whose employment information does not appear in traditional federal and state
data. This was another area that has seen steady growth since 2000. In the Los Angeles fine and
performing arts sector, for example, there are two self-employed people
for every person working in a traditional firm.
Although this was the first report conducted during recessionary times,
the study still uncovered a healthy $121 billion in creative receipts
for Los Angeles County, which puts the creative sector a close third in
after the two bigger regional economic leaders, tourism/hospitality,
international trade. The challenge for L.A., according to the
study, is for government organizations to acknowledge and harness the
contributions of these artists to the city. Namely, this would include
getting K-12 schools up to par with Los Angeles’ world-famous
educational institutions that draw in students from all over the globe.