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BIG FACTS: Arts and culture poured $763.6 billion into U.S. economy

On Tuesday, the National Endowment for the Arts published a report measuring the economic impact of the arts in 2015, revealing the arts funneled $763.6 billion into the U.S. economy in 2015, which accounts for 4.2 percent of the country’s GDP.

Here’s a breakdown of a couple notable numbers from the report:

– 4.9 million workers, who earned $372 billion in total compensation.

– The arts added four times more to the U.S. economy than the agricultural sector and $200 billion more than transportation or warehousing.

– The arts saw a $20 billion trade surplus, leading with movies and TV programs and jewelry.

– The arts trended positively between 2012 and 2015 with an average growth rate of 2.6 percent, slightly higher than 2.4 percent for the nation’s overall economy. Between 2014 and 2015, the growth rate was 4.9 percent in inflation-adjusted dollars.

– Among the fastest-growing industries within the ACPSA are web streaming and web publishing, performing arts presenting, design, and architectural services.

– Tax-exempt performing arts organizations (those producing art and those presenting the art of others) contributed $9 billion to the U.S. economy and employed 90,000 workers, who earned $5.6 billion in total compensation.

– Consumers spent $31.6 billion on admissions to performing arts events, $1 billion more than projected.

NEA Chairman Jane Chu said in a statement about the economic data of the arts:

“The robust data present in the Arts and Cultural Production Satellite Account show through hard evidence how and where arts and culture contribute value to the economies of communities throughout the nation. 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.”

This report comes roughly a month after President Trump’s proposed 2019 budget, which would cut federal funding for the NEA.

It’s pretty awesome to see the arts thriving economically like this. Any sort of cut to the NEA would result in a pretty disastrous situation for independent artists who receive crucial grants and funding from the endowment.

Keep America weird. Fund the arts.