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2017 Otis Report On The Creative Economy Reveals California’s Robust Creative Economy Leads Nation

Economist Kimberly Ritter-Martinez with Academy members Victoria Alonso and Debra Martin Chase Lead Discussion at Release Event

The findings of the 2017 Otis Report on the Creative Economy were released on May 18, 2017, by Otis College of Art and Design at the Linwood Dunn Theater in Hollywood.

Bruce W. Ferguson, president of Otis College of Art and Design, welcomed the live and online audience, introducing Cheryl Boone Isaacs, president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, who provided her thoughts on the creative economy and the entertainment industry. Isaacs’ remarks prefaced a panel discussion on the topic led by report economist Kimberly Ritter-Martinez with Academy members Victoria Alonso and Debra Martin Chase.

Since 2007, Otis College of Art and Design has commissioned the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation LAEDC to generate the Otis Report on the Creative Economy, first as a report on the Los Angeles Region and then joined by a statewide report, supported by the California Arts Council. The Otis Reports are invaluable tools to assess the tremendous impact and influence of the area's creative sector on the economy.

Significant findings in the 2017 Otis Report on the Creative Economy of California include: 

  • Creative economy output totaled $406.5 billion (direct, indirect, and induced).
  • The creative economy generated 1.6 million jobs (direct, indirect, and induced), and those wage and salary workers earned $136 billion in total labor income.
  • With 747,600 direct jobs, California surpasses New York State, which has 478,100 jobs, followed by Texas at 230,600 jobs.
  • Property taxes, state and local personal income taxes, and sales taxes directly and indirectly generated by the creative industries totaled $16.7 billion across all of California.
  • The largest direct job counts in California’s creative sector were in entertainment (171,500), publishing and printing (154,200), and fashion (119,800). Together, these three industries accounted for 60 percent of direct creative industries employment in California.
  • Creative occupations often require high levels of education or skills training, with close to 50 percent of those examined requiring a bachelor’s degree or higher.

The 2017 Otis Report on the Creative Economy of the Los Angeles Region and California is available for download online at In addition, key findings of the statewide report will be addressed at an informational legislative hearing in Sacramento, CA on May 24, 2017, organized by the Joint Committee on the Arts.

Now in its fourth year, this year’s Otis Report on the Creative Economy of California features an addendum analyzing issues of affordable artist housing and retaining and supporting California artists and creative workers, authored by Artspace Projects and developed with support from the California Arts Council. Additionally, the statewide report highlights local creative industries via eight regional snapshots; including the Bay Area, Capital Region, Central Coast, Central Valley, Inland Empire, San Diego and the Imperial Valley, Southern California, and Upstate California.

Funding for the 2017 Otis Report on the Creative Economy was provided by California Arts Council, Mattel, City National Bank, and the Department of Cultural Affairs, City of Los Angeles. Additional support provided by DPR Construction, Arthur J. Gallagher & Co., Marsh, Moss Adams, SignCentrix, Sony Pictures, and Alan Zafran. Media partners included Arts for LA, Arts for Orange County, Californians for the Arts, and LAX Coastal Chamber of Commerce.


Photo: Economist Kimberly Ritter-Martinez (center) with Academy members Victoria Alonso (left) and Debra Martin Chase (right) discuss the creative economy in the Los Angeles region. Credit: Allison Knight