Artists are facing sharp increases in unemployment. Our unemployment rate is comparable to that of the overall workforce (6.1 percent) but twice that of comparable "professional” workers (3.0 percent.)
In March, the NEA published Artists in a Year of Recession a report drawn from unpublished data provided by the Department of Labor.
If you have been paying attention, you will not be shocked by any of the key findings:
- Unemployment rates for artists have risen more rapidly than for U.S. workers as a whole.
- Artist unemployment rates would be even higher if not for the large numbers of artists leaving the workforce.
- Performing artists had a higher unemployment rate than that of artists overall. Their rate was 8.4 percent in the fourth quarter of 2008, a 1.6-point increase from the prior-year period.
The bad news is that the job market for artists is unlikely to improve until long after the U.S. economy starts to recover.
The good news is that we still have time.