Mar 8, 2018

New U.S. government data shows that the arts contributed over $763.6 billion to the American economy in 2015.

The arts sector employed 4.9 million Americans in 2015, who together earned over $370 billion, according to data released Wednesday by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis and the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA)—a contribution to the U.S. economy great than both the agricultural and transportation sectors. Together, the arts comprised 4.2% of the U.S. GDP in 2015, with the sector expanding by an average of 2.6% between 2012 and 2015, the latest year for which data is available. The data was also broken down by state for the first time. Unsurprisingly, New York and California saw the most arts-generated economic impact, with the arts adding $114.1 billion and $174.6 billion to the two states’ economies, respectively. But Washington State and Utah saw the highest year-over-year growth between 2012 and 2015, averaging more than 5% annually. “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,” NEA chairman Jane Chu said in a statement.