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Arts, culture add $700b to US economy, government says

WASHINGTON — Creative industries including Hollywood and broadcasting contribute more to the US economy than previously thought, the government said Monday in its first official analysis of the arts and culture sector’s economic value.

The report from the National Endowment for the Arts and US Bureau of Economic Analysis shows arts and culture contributed more than $698 billion to the economy, which is about 4.32 percent of US goods and services. The study of the creative sector’s contribution to US gross domestic product is based on 2012 data, the most recent figures available, and includes nonprofit, for-profit and government-funded programs.

Six industries account for the bulk of arts and culture production, according to the analysis. They include broadcasting, movies and videos, publishing, retail sales, performing arts and advertising. Analysts found that 4.7 million workers were employed in arts and culture production. Looking back more than a decade, the creative sector’s production hit its peak in 2002.

Compared with other sectors of the economy in 2012, arts and culture surpassed construction by $112 billion, as well as transportation, travel and tourism and agriculture. But the creative sector was smaller than the health care and retail industries when compared with their economic production.


‘‘It’s a formidable presence from the economic point of view,’’ said Jane Chu, chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts. ‘‘Here is an opportunity to understand how the arts infuse our lives.’’

The new findings are significantly larger than a preliminary estimate of arts production released in 2013. That estimate showed creative industries generated about $504 billion in the US economy. The new analysis adds architectural services, online ticket vendors and more ‘‘entertainment originals’’ in movies, TV and book publishing to the creative industries that were not included in the previous estimate.

Arts and culture also contribute to a trade surplus with more exports than imports from other nations, said Sunil Iyengar, research director for the National Endowment for the Arts.


‘‘A lot of consumption is going on outside our borders of American-made products — home-grown art, if you will,’’ he said. ‘‘So that’s about $25 billion of trade surplus, and that’s rare for many industries and sectors within the US economy.’’

Additional studies being released by the endowment examine arts participation by state and barriers to participation.