When people were preparing eulogies for the entertainment sector, Techdirt’s Mike Masnick popped out with his bold piece, “The Sky is Rising,” and poked holes in the gloomy forecast. His scrutiny of the numbers revealed that the entertainment industry is actually growing. Entertainment consumption per household increased from 2000 to 2008. Employment in the entertainment sector jumped 20% from 1998 to 2008. And the number of independent artists rose 43% over the same period.
While the outlook for the sector might not be quite as sunny as Masnick indicates in his report (case in point: the share of household income spent on entertainment has declined every year since 2008), it’s true that entertainment employment is on the rise. Over the last decade-plus, the number of entertainment and sports-related jobs — a group of 10 occupations that includes actors, musicians, and dancers, as well as coaches and referees, etc. — has grown 30%.
But much of this job growth, especially since the recession, is not of the traditional wage-and-salary variety. Instead, EMSI’s new class-of-worker data shows that proprietors account for 242,000-plus, or nearly 80%, of the jobs added since 2001 in the main entertainment and sports-related occupations. This includes workers whose main income comes from self-employment, and even more so those doing side gigs in addition to their day job (what EMSI labels as “extended proprietors” but might better be referred to as freelancers in this case).
Note: EMSI’s employment estimates are a count of jobs, not a count of workers. One person can hold more than one job, and this is particularly the case with the types of worker activity tracked in our extended proprietor dataset.
|ENTERTAINMENT-RELATED JOBS (2001-2012)|
|Source: EMSI 2012.2 Class of Worker|
|2001 Jobs||2008 Jobs||2012 Jobs||% Growth Since 2001||% Growth Since 2008||Avg. Hourly Wage|
|Self-Employed & Extended Proprietors||512,383||685,773||755,137||47%||10%||$17.24|
Since 2001, employment in entertainment and sports among wage-and-salary workers (those who draw benefits and pay into the unemployment insurance program) has increased 13%. This is a solid gain, but consider that since ’08, the heart of the recession, the job gains have been minimal (1% growth, or 7,432 jobs added).
But look at the self-employed and extended proprietors row in the above table: this part of the entertainment and sports-related workforce has mushroomed 47% since ’01, and 10% since ’08.
The growth in proprietors makes sense when you think about the work being done in these fields — moms and dads coaching their kids (or serving as referees) in soccer, office workers moonlighting in a band that does local gigs, men and women working part-time for the local stage company as an actor or director. These are just a few examples. But it’s clear businesses that hire these types of workers require or prefer freelancers or part-timers; it’s just the nature of the work. And as families’ budgets get tighter or single people need extra (or any) income, these jobs are a welcomed option, at least in the short term.
There are still more than a half million salaried jobs in these fields. But increasingly, freelance workers are becoming the norm in entertainment and sports.
The Workforce Breakdown
Overall, 58% of the “entertainers and performers, sports and related” workforce, as it’s classified by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, is made up of proprietors. That’s up from 51% in 2001 and 56% in 2008.
The largest occupation in this sector, musicians & singers, is predominantly composed of those who do work on the side. Just over 265,000 of 440,000-plus musician jobs in the US fall under EMSI’s extended proprietor category, and there are nearly as many self-employed musicians (73,875) as traditional W-2 musicians (102,628).
Musicians aren’t alone in this trend, of course. Of the 118,000-plus estimated actors in the US, almost half are extended proprietors and another 18,520 are self-employed. Dancers, coaches & scouts, and others have a similar labor force breakdown.
The highest percentage growth since 2001 among these 10 occupations has come in coaches and scouts (51%). Second is actors at 42%; of the 34,706 new actors jobs in the last decade-plus, all but 2,230 have come in the self-employed and extended proprietor categories.
|SOC Code||Description||2001 Jobs||2012 Jobs||Change||% Change||Median Hourly Wage||Education Level|
|Source: EMSI 2012.2 Class of Worker - QCEW Employees, Non-QCEW Employees, Self-Employed, Extended Proprietors|
|27-2011||Actors||83,451||118,157||34,706||42%||$16.54||Long-term on-the-job training|
|27-2012||Producers and Directors||126,576||124,670||-1,906||-2%||$28.86||Bachelor's or higher degree, plus work experience|
|27-2021||Athletes and Sports Competitors||28,335||38,520||10,185||36%||$27.30||Long-term on-the-job training|
|27-2022||Coaches and Scouts||198,681||299,509||100,828||51%||$13.89||Long-term on-the-job training|
|27-2023||Umpires, Referees, and Other Sports Officials||25,547||34,447||8,900||35%||$11.31||Long-term on-the-job training|
|27-2031||Dancers||29,914||37,496||7,582||25%||$14.70||Long-term on-the-job training|
|27-2032||Choreographers||17,343||22,628||5,285||30%||$18.30||Work experience in a related occupation|
|27-2041||Music Directors and Composers||65,593||79,927||14,334||22%||$19.31||Bachelor's or higher degree, plus work experience|
|27-2042||Musicians and Singers||324,934||441,882||116,948||36%||$18.01||Long-term on-the-job training|
|27-2099||Entertainers and Performers, Sports and Related Workers, All Other||104,970||114,665||9,695||9%||$18.47||Long-term on-the-job training|
Across the board, the job growth numbers look radically different if we take out proprietors. Looking just at EMSI’s QCEW dataset, which corresponds to published Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages data, only four of these occupations have had double-digit growth since ’01: coaches and scouts (39%); choreographers (32%); entertainers and performers, sports and related workers, all other (15%); and music directors and composers (13%).
Top Metros for Entertainment
We all know New York City and Los Angeles are major entertainment hubs. But EMSI’s data is still startling: The nation’s two largest cities account for nearly 1 out of every 5 entertainment and sports-related jobs in America. The New York City metro area has the most jobs in entertainment and sports-related fields of any MSA (with more than 116,000 estimated in 2012), followed by L.A. (112,528). These two have nearly four times the number of jobs as Chicago, which has the third-most in the US at nearly 37,000.
Of the 50 most populous metros in the U.S., Los Angeles is also the most concentrated in entertainment and sports-related workers. With a location quotient of 2.06, L.A. is more than twice as concentrated as the national average of 1.0. Nashville, with an LQ of 2.02, is close behind, followed by San Francisco, New York, Las Vegas, and Austin, Texas.
Since 2008, Austin has blown away every other big metro in terms of its job growth in entertainment and sports jobs (18.4%). Second is Richmond, VA (13.4%).
|ENTERTAINMENT-RELATED JOBS IN 50 LARGEST METRO AREAS|
|Source: EMSI 2012.2|
|MSA Name||2012 Jobs||2008-2012 Percentage Growth||Median Hourly Earnings||2012 National Location Quotient|
|Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana, CA||112,528||1.3%||$26.22||2.06|
|San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont, CA||30,667||5.6%||$23.80||1.51|
|New York-Northern New Jersey-Long Island, NY-NJ-PA||116,234||7.9%||$23.81||1.43|
|Las Vegas-Paradise, NV||10,242||5.0%||$21.14||1.29|
|Austin-Round Rock-San Marcos, TX||10,421||18.4%||$16.51||1.27|
|Salt Lake City, UT||7,480||9.1%||$18.46||1.20|
|New Orleans-Metairie-Kenner, LA||5,906||6.5%||$15.85||1.13|
|Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI||17,912||4.0%||$18.94||1.11|
|Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta, GA||24,329||12.9%||$19.39||1.06|
|Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis, WI||7,385||-0.2%||$16.21||1.05|
|Hartford-West Hartford-East Hartford, CT||5,842||8.5%||$19.33||1.02|
|Kansas City, MO-KS||9,226||10.7%||$16.17||1.01|
|Providence-New Bedford-Fall River, RI-MA||6,235||3.0%||$16.47||1.00|
|Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX||28,900||13.2%||$18.42||0.96|
|Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL||10,409||9.5%||$17.60||0.95|
|St. Louis, MO-IL||11,182||2.7%||$18.81||0.94|
|San Diego-Carlsbad-San Marcos, CA||12,478||1.4%||$21.90||0.93|
|San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA||7,991||8.2%||$19.51||0.92|
|Charlotte-Gastonia-Rock Hill, NC-SC||7,130||5.4%||$18.80||0.90|
|Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach, FL||20,187||5.4%||$22.13||0.86|
|Louisville/Jefferson County, KY-IN||4,743||5.6%||$15.98||0.85|
|Buffalo-Niagara Falls, NY||3,768||-0.2%||$15.66||0.80|
|Oklahoma City, OK||4,534||11.9%||$15.62||0.79|
|Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, VA-NC||5,814||4.8%||$14.31||0.79|
|Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA||9,203||1.6%||$18.51||0.76|
|San Antonio-New Braunfels, TX||6,732||11.2%||$16.98||0.76|
|Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown, TX||18,270||11.8%||$18.87||0.69|
What About All MSAs?
Among all MSAs in the US with at least 500 jobs in these fields, the highest concentration in the entertainment and sports-related sector belongs to Edwards, Colorado, which is just west of the resort community of Vail (home to the Vail Jazz Festival). The Edwards MSA has just 1,100 estimated entertainment and sports-related jobs. But with a location quotient of 8.42, it is more than eight times as concentrated as the national average in these fields.
Next is an MSA that you’d probably expect to see this high on the list: Santa Fe, New Mexico (with an LQ of 4.01). Sante Fe is known for its art galleries, museums, and other tourist-friendly sites, and it has more than 2,000 entertainment and sports-related jobs.
Joshua Wright is an editor at EMSI, an Idaho-based economics firm that provides data and analysis to workforce boards, economic development agencies, higher education institutions, and the private sector. He manages the EMSI blog and is a freelance journalist. Contact him here.
Film crew photo by Bigstock.