U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis and National Endowment for the Arts Release Preliminary Report on Impact of Arts and Culture on U.S. Economy

National Endowment for the Arts,
05 December 2013, USA

Arts and Cultural Production Account for 3.2 Percent -- or $504 Billion -- of Gross Domestic Product in 2011

The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) and the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) released prototype estimates today from the new Arts and Cultural Production Satellite Account (ACPSA). This is the first federal effort to provide in-depth analysis of the arts and cultural sector's contributions to current-dollar gross domestic product (GDP), a measure of the final dollar value of all goods and services produced in the United States. According to these new estimates, 3.2 percent -- or $504 billion -- of current-dollar GDP in 2011 was attributable to arts and culture. In comparison, BEA's estimated value of the U.S. travel and tourism industry was 2.8 percent of GDP.

“The positive value of arts and culture on society has been understood on a human level for millennia. With this new effort, we are now able to quantify the impact of arts and culture on GDP for the very first time. Better utilizing this type of knowledge and information is part of the Department of Commerce's 'Open for Business Agenda,' through which we are seeking to provide more transparency and data to enhance decision-making, create more value, and better understand and grow our economy," said U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker.

"Art and culture is a significant part of the U.S. economy. Not just its contributions of ideas and creativity to the innovation economy, but also as an important part of the labor force and our country's GDP," said NEA Senior Deputy Chairman Joan Shigekawa. "The Arts and Cultural Production Satellite Account is an unprecedented resource for detailed, reliable data on the economic value associated with arts and cultural activity."

The ACPSA is the latest in a series of BEA satellite accounts that complement BEA’s core industry economic accounts with detailed data on industries such as travel and tourism, healthcare, transportation, and research and development. Satellite accounts are supplementary estimates that do not change the official U.S. economic accounts, including GDP.  Rather, these satellite accounts provide greater detail than in the U.S. economic accounts and allow analysis of a particular aspect of the economy, such as arts and cultural production. BEA, a unit of the Commerce Department, produces statistics on the U.S. economy’s performance.  

The ACPSA provides national estimates for the years 1998-2011 on select arts and cultural commodities and industries (both for profit and nonprofit) that are currently reflected in GDP. These estimates consist of nominal industry output, direct and indirect employment (salaried and self-employed), compensation of employees, and "value added" by industry.[i] BEA will seek industry and public comment on the prototype ACPSA, which could lead to future refinements.

To read the complete media release, including key findings, see the external link below.