Philadelphia ranks among cities with most arts sector jobs

Philadelphia has one of the strongest arts and culture economies in the nation, according to a new study by the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance.

Cultural industries in the Philadelphia region generate $1.04 billion in paychecks earned by the 43,700 jobs directly or indirectly associated with the arts sector. Those jobs include full-time equivelant (FTE) jobs, which can mean several part-time jobs adding up to a full time position.

That gives the Philadelphia region the most arts-related jobs than any other region in the country, excluding New York City.

Data from the report “Arts, Culture, and Economic Prosperity” has shared its data with a concurrent national study comparing similar data from other cities and regions.

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“The number of jobs has grown for the cultural sector during the recession,” said Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance president Tom Kaiden. “There aren’t many industries that can talk about growing demand during a recession, and this is one of them.”

People working in the cultural sector have long touted its importance to the overall regional economy. The report has hard numbers–$1.4 billion in direct spending, spurring another $1.9 billion in economic impact; $169 million in tax revenue–establishing the importance of the cultural sector in the overall economy, and makes the sector a player in budget negotiations and policy discussions.

“One thing I find that is helpful in promoting the arts and culture section in Philadelphia is that we don’t preach to the choir, but that we communicate that value to people outside the sector and outside the city,” said Gary Steuer, chief culture officer for the city of Philadelphia. “That kind of messaging is of concrete and powerful value, in terms of business attraction and retention, and tourism,” he said.

The report also breaks down organizations by category: the cultural subject that creates the most jobs, generates the most tax revenues, and attracts the most expenditures is science and nature.

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