BOSTON ( TheStreet) -- It is safe to say that virtually all sectors of the U.S. economy were ravaged by the Great Recession. But the arts sector took a particularly hard beating and hasn't really recovered -- at least, that's the conclusion of a report released this month by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis and National Endowment for the Arts.
The report finds that the arts now make up about 0.5 of a percentage less of Gross Domestic Product than a decade ago. From 2000-05, the arts constituted between 3.5% and 3.7% of GDP; since 2009, that dipped to 3.2%, or $504 billion, where it has stayed. (By comparison, the U.S. travel and tourism industry makes up 2.8% of GDP.)
A half of a percentage point may seem small, but it actually makes up a significant part of the general economy. About 2 million Americans were employed in the arts in 2011, with 310,000 working for the motion picture industry and 200,000 working for museums and in the performing arts.
As with GDP, employment levels in the arts took a real nosedive in 2009 -- much greater than the economy as a whole -- with more than170,000 jobs lost. The sector had yet to recover fully as of 2011, when "arts and cultural goods and services" contributed to a total gross output of $916 billion, with advertising generating the most of that estimate at nearly $200 billion. Arts education, which grossed just sort of $104 billion and includes fine- and performing-arts schools and departments at universities, came in second. Cable television production and distribution followed shortly behind at $100 billion.