BEA is a Big Deal
In December 2013, the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) and National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) added to the canon of research on the economic impact of the arts with the new Arts and Cultural Production Satellite Account—a measure of arts and culture in the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Economic impact of the arts is not a new story. What’s new is that an agency of BEA’s stature has undertaken the research. The BEA is choosy about the satellite accounts it establishes and wouldn’t measure arts and culture unless it recognized the sector as important to the nation’s economic well-being and global competitiveness.
What did BEA find? That arts and culture activity produce $504 billion dollars in goods and services annually in the U.S.—representing 3.25 percent of the nation’s economy—numbers larger than transportation ($448 billion) and agriculture ($174 billion), and only slightly behind construction ($530 billion). The arts numbers were much larger than expected and turned enough heads at BEA headquarters to get the attention of U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker, who provided a quote in the NEA’s release about the value of arts and culture (not an insignificant recognition). Read the rest of this entry »