Arts Sector Shrank at Twice the Rate of US Economy as Covid Surged, NEA Reports

A report launched March 15 by the Nationwide Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the Bureau of Financial Evaluation (BEA) revealed that the humanities trade within the US shriveled at practically twice the speed of the nation’s economic system between 2019 and 2020, because the Covid-19 disaster shuttered theaters, golf equipment, cinemas, and museums throughout the nation. Moreover, whereas the humanities sector has regained power because the course of the pandemic evolves, it has not but returned to 2019 ranges. Nonetheless, the NEA pointed to what it describes because the sector’s “outsized function within the US economic system” as a optimistic predictor relating to future worth.

Analyzing financial information from throughout thirty-five totally different segments of the cultural discipline and adjusting for inflation, the NEA found that arts and cultural manufacturing tumbled 6.4 p.c between 2019 and 2020, whereas the US economic system as a complete dipped by 3.4 p.c. Maybe unsurprisingly, the performing arts have been the toughest hit, becoming a member of oil drilling and air transportation on the entrance of the breadline; queuing up shut behind was the movie trade, which noticed a staggering 136,000 jobs misplaced as productions shut down. Unemployment charges within the arts total rose precipitously, from 3.7 p.c in 2019 to 10.3 p.c in 2020; job losses, not counting these sustained by self-employed arts staff, totaled 604,000 in the identical interval.

With vaccines broadly obtainable, Omicron receding within the nation’s rearview mirror, and future Covid variants anticipated to be much less lethal, the humanities trade is predicted to proceed to select up steam this yr. Whereas nowhere close to the $12.7 billion reaped in third-quarter 2019, the performing arts section noticed income double within the comparable 2021 interval over the earlier yr, rising from a pitiful 834 million to $1.7 billion. Citing the enlargement, throughout the pandemic, of digital media platforms reminiscent of live-performance streaming providers and on-line viewing rooms that accounted for a complete of 12,000 jobs added, and pointing additionally to the $876.7 billion in worth added by the humanities sector to the nationwide GDP in 2020, down from $919.7 billion in 2019,

NEA chair Rosaria Jackson supplied an optimistic outlook.

“Whereas arts and cultural industries and staff nationwide have sustained heavy losses, the sector continues to play an outsized function within the U.S. economic system—as the brand new information reveal,” she stated. “The NEA is dedicated to collaborating as a key associate within the restoration of this sector, recognizing not solely its financial worth, but additionally the humanities’ capability to remodel the lives of people and communities in different methods, contributing to well being and well-being, and total resilience.”


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