California’s creative economy took center stage in Sacramento last month as legislators begin to recognize the role it plays in the region’s success. A release of a statewide report on the sector prompted the passage of an assembly resolution and a revision in the Governor’s budget to increases state arts funding. These efforts mean to reinforce California’s standing as a creative economy powerhouse and to grow the workforce pipeline necessary to fuel its future.
The scale of that powerhouse was made evident in a hearing before the Joint Committee on the Arts to discuss the 2014 Otis Report on the Creative Economy, the second annual analysis of California’s creative industries and occupations. Many of the state’s most important industries, such as entertainment, digital media, industrial design, publishing, and the design and manufacturing of toys and apparel, are in the creative sector.
The Otis report finds these industries generated $293.8 billion in economic activity in 2013, touching one in ten jobs in the state, and contributing over 8 percent to the gross state product. As the report’s chief economist Robert Kleinhenz explained in an email, “the output of California’s creative economy is bigger than the Gross State Product of 32 states.”