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The Arts Contribute More Than $760 Billion to the U.S. Economy

The Arts Contribute More Than $760 Billion to the U.S. Economy

(WASHINGTON, DC) -- New data released on March 6th by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) and the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) offers an insightful picture of the impact the arts have on the nation’s economy. The arts contribute $763.6 billion to the U.S. economy, more than agriculture, transportation, or warehousing.  The arts employ 4.9 million workers across the country with earnings of over $370 billion. Furthermore, the arts exported $20 billion more than imported, providing a positive trade balance.

Produced by the BEA and NEA, the Arts and Cultural Production Satellite Account (ACSPA) tracks the annual economic impact of arts and cultural production from 35 industries, both commercial and non-profit. The ACPSA reports on economic measures—value-added to gross domestic product (GDP) as well as employment and compensation. For the first time, the report also includes the arts impact on state economies as contributions to gross state product (GSP). The numbers in this report are from 2015, the most recent reporting year.

“The robust data present in the Arts and Cultural Production Satellite Account show through hard evidence how and where arts and culture contribute value to the economies of communities throughout the nation,” said NEA Chairman Jane Chu. “The data confirm that the arts play a meaningful role in our daily lives, including through the jobs we have, the products we purchase, and the experiences we share.”


National   For all national findings, see this arts data profile.

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* The arts contributed $763.6 billion to the U.S. economy in 2015, 4.2 percent of GDP and counted 4.9 million workers, who earned $372 billion in total compensation.

* The arts added four times more to the U.S. economy than the agricultural sector and $200 billion more than transportation or warehousing.

* The arts saw a $20 billion trade surplus, leading with movies and TV programs and jewelry.

* The arts trended positively between 2012 and 2015 with an average growth rate of 2.6 percent, slightly higher than 2.4 percent for the nation’s overall economy. Between 2014 and 2015, the growth rate was 4.9 percent in inflation-adjusted dollars.

By Industry

* Among the fastest-growing industries within the ACPSA are web-streaming and web-publishing, performing arts presenting, design, and architectural services.

* Tax-exempt performing arts organizations (those producing art and those presenting the art of others) contributed $9 billion to the U.S. economy and employed 90,000 workers, who earned $5.6 billion in total compensation.

* Consumers spent $31.6 billion on admissions to performing arts events, $1 billion more than projected. 

*  The value added by performing arts presenting (tax-exempt and for-profit) rose by 9.5 percent during the recent three-year period.

By State

The value-added to a state’s economy defined as contributions to the GSP is noted for individual ACPSA industries and the states in which that industry ranked above the national average. For example, as a percentage of GSP, Nevada is at the top for performing arts companies and Louisiana follows only California and New York as the premiere state for movie production. For all state findings, see this arts data profile. Other leading states are:

* Graphic design in Illinois contributed $589.5 billion to GSP, 69 percent above the national rate.

* Architectural services in Massachusetts added $804.6 million, 73% greater than the national rate.

* Industrial design in Michigan added $429 million, 9 times the national rate.

* Jewelry manufacturing in Rhode Island is $224 million, 33 times the national rate

Art‐related printing in Wisconsin contributed $530.9 million to the state’s economy, four times greater than the national rate.

In a research brief looking at rural states, North Carolina and Tennessee had the largest rural arts economies with value-added from rural areas in both states totaling more than $13 billion. 

In a research brief about the fastest-growing arts economies, Washington State and Utah topped the list with average annual growth rates over five percent between 2012 and 2015. 

More state examples are on the State Highlights Fact Sheet.


The NEA, BEA, and the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies have developed resources to help users navigate the data. 

* A Key to Industries describes the 35 ACPSA industries and the percentage and amount of economic value ascribed to each. 

* The NEA created five research briefs featuring national and state overviews, plus special topic areas:

*  The Economic Contributions of Tax-Exempt Performing Arts Organizations 

*   Rural State Arts Economies

*   Three Years of Fast-Growing Arts Industries at the State-Level

* Through an award from the NEA, the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies produced an interactive dashboard that allows users to explore key information for individual states.

*  The Bureau of Economic Analysis’s state fact sheets feature ACPSA value-added, employment, compensation, top industries, trends, and rankings for 50 states and the District of Columbia.

*Two interactive infographics produced by the NEA offer a quick and fun look at national and state data.

About the National Endowment for the Arts

Established by Congress in 1965, the NEA is the independent federal agency whose funding and support gives Americans the opportunity to participate in the arts, exercise their imaginations, and develop their creative capacities. Through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector, the NEA supports arts learning, affirms and celebrates America’s rich and diverse cultural heritage, and extends its work to promote equal access to the arts in every community across America. Please visit

originally published: 2018-03-06 00:00:00

Upcoming Events

In Pursuit of Beauty: Imaging Closets in Newark and Beyond

In Pursuit of Beauty: Imaging Closets in Newark and Beyond

(NEWARK, NJ) -- Shine Portrait Studio at Express Newark, located at Rutgers University-Newark, presents "In Pursuit of Beauty: Imaging Closets in Newark and Beyond," a solo presentation of new site-specific work by Deborah Willis, organized by Shine Portrait Studio Curator-in-Residence, Kalia Brooks Nelson. This project marks Shine’s first large-scale artistic endeavor and, given the space’s historic function as James Van Der Zee’s professional photography studio in 1911, "In Pursuit" continues a tradition of radical examination of portraiture and self-identification. 

The Noyes Gallery at Claridge Opened Three Exhibitions In March

The Noyes Gallery at Claridge Opened Three Exhibitions In March

(ATLANTIC CITY, NJ) -- The Noyes Gallery at Claridge opened three exhibitions in March.  First to open was Miko Colon: Dark Waters, which opened on March 2nd and will be on display until April 29th.  Two other exhibits opened on March 17 - work by Norwegian artist Elling Reitan (which runs until May 1st) and a solo exhibition of work by Mina Cheon (which runs until June 24th.)

West Windsor Arts Center Gallery Presents "Abstraction"

West Windsor Arts Center Gallery Presents "Abstraction"

(PRINCETON JUNCTION, NJ) -- West Windsor Arts Center presents local artists’creations of abstract art expressing movement, gesture, improvisation and a sense of exploration with its 2018 Member Exhibit “Abstraction” now on display through April 27.  

Hudson County Community College to Exhibit Select Artwork from the Acclaimed Carrie Haddad Gallery

Hudson County Community College to Exhibit Select Artwork from the Acclaimed Carrie Haddad Gallery

(JERSEY CITY, NJ) --  Several unique works from the Carrie Haddad Gallery in Hudson, New York will be exhibited at Hudson County Community College (HCCC) from Wednesday, March 14 through Saturday, April 21. The exhibit is open to the general public and there is no charge for admission.

Wednesday, Mar 21, 2018

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