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The Creative Class Is Alive

As bad as the overall economic situation may be, the creative class has in fact gotten off comparatively lightly. The creative class added nearly three million jobs between 2001 through 2010, growing jobs at a seven percent clip. And the sub-group of the creative class that spans arts and media grew at nearly double that rate (13.8 percent) over the same period. Average creative class wages increased by more than a third (34.5 percent), from $52,707 to $70,890, over this decade—more than any other major occupational group—and wages for arts and media creatives rose by 31.5 percent. To Timberg’s point, that these gains were not shared equally across the creative class: there were indeed winners and losers. The biggest job losses occurred among “news analysts, reporters, and correspondents” (a category that lost 15,130 jobs, a substantial 22.9 percent decline), musicians and singers (8,830 jobs lost, down 16.9 percent), photographers (10,810 jobs lost, down 16.5 percent) and editors (5,050 jobs lost, down 4.9 percent). But other segments of the creative class experienced substantial job growth. Jobs for producers and directors went up by nearly 80 percent (36,770 new jobs); art director jobs grew by 45 percent; nearly 60,000 new jobs opened up for graphic designers (up 45 percent); and audio and video equipment technician jobs increased by roughly 40 percent. But these changes pale in comparison to the decimation of the working class – spanning manufacturing, construction and transportation – which lost a staggering 6.2 million jobs.

All workers and all classes of work were hit by the economic meltdown. The creative class lost slightly less than three quarters of a million jobs during 2008-2010, the height of the economic crisis, less than two percent of all its jobs. Arts and media jobs declined at a higher rate, 4.9 percent, shedding 88,300 jobs. But this pales next to the destruction of more than two million service jobs and 5.3 million blue collar jobs, one in six jobs in that sector. In the first half of 2009, when national unemployment was at 8.7 percent, creative class unemployment was about half that level (4.4 percent) and just a third of the 15.2 percent rate faced by blue collar workers. Interestingly enough, creative class workers who had jobs actually saw their wages grow by 4.4 percent during the crisis, while the wages of arts and media workers grew by 3.2 percent. At the same time, blue collar workers faced the double whammy of massive job destruction and falling wages (which declined by 4.7 percent).

(Source: azspot)

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