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Artists in a Year of Recession: Impact on Jobs in 2008

NEA Research Note #97

March 30, 200930 March 2009

Issue
Situation of artists

Article Link
http://www.arts.endow.gov/news/news09/artist-unemployment-rates.html

Using unpublished labour statistics, this report finds that artists have particularly “high unemployment rates and discouraging job prospects” in the U.S. during the current recession. Among the negative statistics:

  • 63% more artists were unemployed in fourth quarter of 2008 than in the fourth quarter of 2007.
  • The unemployment rate of artists (6.0%) is similar to that of all workers (6.1%) but much higher than the rate for all professionals (3.0%).
  • “Unemployment rates for artists have risen more rapidly than for U.S. workers as a whole.”
  • Many artists were not included in the unemployment statistics because they had left the workforce.
  • The arts occupations with the highest unemployment rates are performers, visual artists and writers.
  • The report notes that, in February, President Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act which, among many other items, includes an additional $50 million for the National Endowment for the Arts “to support the preservation of jobs in the nonprofit arts sector”.

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