The number of people working in California’s entertainment sector and the pace with which jobs have been added to this key part of the state’s economy is larger than previous estimates, according to a new study from the recently formed Entertainment Economy Institute.The number of California jobs related to entertainment as of 2002 stood at 294,000 according to the study. That’s twice what had been previously estimated.The higher total being reported is partly a function of the EEI’s redefining industry jobs to include many small companies that service the industry and vendors, such as caterers, who hadn’t been previously counted.However, according to observers, EEI may actually be underestimating the real levels of entertainment-related employment since it doesn’t take into account the burgeoning video-game sector, nor jobs related to the adult-entertainment business.Employment in 2002, after the new revisions, was down from the peak level for entertainment workers of 326,000 in 1999, according to the study.“We’ve always thought the entertainment workforce was much larger than reported by official government statistics,” said Jack Kyser, chief economist at the Los Angeles Economic Development Council. “This detailed analysis gives us a much better handle on the industry’s size and the footprint it has in the local community.”Other conclusions:â€¢ During the 1991–2002 span surveyed, show biz–related jobs grew by 29 percent in California, significantly faster than did jobs in the overall private sector, which rose by 17 percent.â€¢ Average wages for people in the entertainment biz were consistently above the average in the overall private sector. In 2002, average entertainment industry jobs paid $56,253 a year, or 40 percent more than the $40,769 average for California private-sector jobs as a whole.â€¢ The studios may have the most visibility, but the industry is largely made up of small firms, with 20 or fewer employees.â€¢ The entertainment industry is expanding beyond the limits of Los Angeles County into other adjacent counties like Orange and Ventura.The full report can be viewed at the EEI website, www.entertainmentecon.org.
Written by Jack Egan