Otis College of Art and Design
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2022 Bay Area

The Bay Area was one of the few regions in the state which saw significant gains in creative economy employment after the Great Recession. The number of jobs in the creative economy grew by 64.3% from 2007 to 2019, a far faster pace than the overall economy which only saw an 18% increase over this same period. As of 2020, there were nearly 539,600 workers in the Bay Area’s creative economy, which comprised 12% of the total workforce.

Strong economic growth heading into the pandemic helped the Bay Area’s creative economy avoid significant job losses as employment only dropped by 0.4% from 2019 to 2020. As a result, creative economy employment remained 64% higher than 2007 levels. Certain sectors even grew throughout the widespread economic disruptions of 2020. For example, the Entertainment and Digital Media sector saw jobs increase by 1.2%. However, the Fine and Performing Arts sector could not avoid significant job losses as pandemic-related restrictions led to a 17.8% drop in employment.

The average annual wage for the creative economy was $234,063 in 2020, which was twice as high as the average annual wage for creative economy employment in other regions. This reflects both strong growth in the creative sectors, as well as the overall robust economic conditions in the region as a whole. Although wages in the creative economy are higher than average across all regions, this difference is mostpronounced in the Bay Area. The average annual wage for the region’s overall economy stands at $112,971, less  than half the compensation of the creative economy.

For more information on the regions, please download the 2022 Otis College Report on the Creative Economy

Download the Otis Report on the Creative Economy

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