Houston's Local Creative Economy Continues to Grow as Creative Workers Become Integral to Businesses Across an Array of Industries

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Houston Arts Alliance's second Creative Economy Study shows even greater local demand for creative products and services since 2011.

The number of people employed by Houston's creative economy grew by 22% in three years.

Despite fluctuations in other industry sectors, Houston’s creative industry economy remains robust—with demand growing by 25% since first measured in 2011, according to the second Houston-area creative economy study commissioned by Houston Arts Alliance with data and economic analysis by EMSI (Economic Modeling Specialists, Inc.).

Over the three-year period between studies, a shift in how creative workers are employed occurred with creatives becoming more integral to businesses across an array of diverse industries, marking an important change in Houston’s current workforce.

Commissioned by Houston Arts Alliance’s Arts & Business Council of Greater Houston, the study is a comprehensive review of creative-sector industries and creative occupations and their impact on the Houston economy. The study defines creative-sector industries as those in which a creative or artistic element is an integral part of the delivery of its product or service. Examples include graphic design, record production, architecture, fine arts schools and photography. The creative economy also includes the non-creative supporting jobs in the creative industries, like receptionists, business managers, etc. Additionally, it includes creatives in non-creative industries—like a graphic designer at an energy company.

Key findings of Creative Economy 2 of Greater Houston are:

  • In 2014, Houston’s creative economy was made up of 179,156 people—the number of people employed in the creative economy grew by 22% in three years.
  • In 2014, Houston’s demand for creative goods and services was $25.6 billion—a 25% increase since 2011. Of that, $10.5 billion was locally supplied and $15.1 billion was imported (a 55% increase since 2011)—leaving us with an even greater margin for growth. Only 41% was locally supplied.
  • Creative occupations saw significantly more growth than creative industries between 2004 and 2014 (+26% versus +13%, respectively). This change signals that creative workers are becoming more integral to businesses across an array of industries. From 2014 to 2019, growth among creative occupations is expected to continue to outpace growth among creative industries (10% compared to 6%).

“As Houston continues to grow at a pace among the fastest of American cities, creative businesses from architecture to textile design and fabrication are tapped,” stated Jonathon Glus, president and CEO of HAA. “Today, nearly 60% of the creative industries product is imported into Houston. That is up from 45% creative import in 2011. As Houston’s creative appetite outpaces local capacity, Houston has a choice. We can recognize creative business and creative talent as a critical element of a globally-competitive city, and invest in the success of the sector right here at home, or we continue to import the talent, goods and services.”

For detailed information on the current Creative Economy of Houston 2 study, please visit http://www.houstonartsalliance.com/publications/creative-economy.

About Arts & Business Council of Greater Houston
The Arts & Business Council of Greater Houston (ABC) creates and expands relationships between nonprofit arts/cultural organizations and the corporate community. Focused on leadership and volunteerism, programs of the ABC build stronger support for the arts and foster a knowledge-sharing culture within the Greater Houston community.

The ABC serves as a vital link between business and the arts, creating connections to make the Greater Houston area culturally vibrant and economically strong.

About EMSI
Economic Modeling Specialists Intl. (EMSI) is a CareerBuilder company that provides industry-leading employment data and economic analysis via web tools and custom reports. EMSI turns vast amounts of labor market data into easy-to-use information that helps organizations understand the connection between economies, people, and work, and ultimately build a better workforce. EMSI's web tools—Analyst and Career Coach—are used by thousands of professionals in higher education, workforce and economic development, and the private sector. EMSI also produces custom economic analysis with a team of economists and consultants, and is a leading provider of comprehensive impact analyses for colleges and universities in the U.S. and internationally.

About Houston Arts Alliance
Houston Arts Alliance (HAA) is a nonprofit, public-private initiative that invests in Houston’s arts and cultural sector, advances Houston’s reputation as an arts and culture destination, and works to elevate the quality of life for all Houstonians through arts and culture. As the city’s designated local arts agency, HAA provides programs and services for the arts and cultural sector and awards approximately 225 grants annually to nonprofit arts and cultural organizations and individual artists. The Alliance is the custodian of the city’s art collection; takes permanent and temporary art to Houston’s public spaces; presents free Folklife + Traditional Arts programming; nurtures up-and-coming arts organizations through its capacity building programs; connects the business community with the arts; convenes the field as necessary, and provides the latest information and research on cultural policy, economic development and Houston’s folklife.

HAA’s primary partner is the City of Houston. Approximately 55% of HAA’s budget comes from Hotel Occupancy Tax and 30% from the City of Houston’s Percent for Art Program, which supports commissions of new civic art projects as well as conservation of existing artworks. The remaining 15% of HAA’s budget comes from private fundraising (grants/contributions/other revenue) for programs and special projects. HAA is committed to raising funds for only those projects and initiatives that the Arts Alliance is uniquely positioned to provide the community.

For more information, visit houstonartsalliance.com. For events in the region, visit Artshound.com.

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Marie Jacinto
Houston Arts Alliance
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