New Study Shows Strength and Impact of Pennsylvania’s Motion Picture and Television Industry Workforce

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Industry generates thousands of high paying jobs and current job gains

This study shows the strength of the motion picture and television industry in Pennsylvania and its ability to create high paying jobs, even in difficult times

As budget hearings take place in Harrisburg, a new study released today showcases the role of Pittsburgh’s motion picture and television industry as an important generator of jobs and revenues for the City of Pittsburgh.

The Three Rivers Workforce Investment Board (TRWIB) released results of a new workforce study that shows the strength and impact of the motion picture and television industry in Pennsylvania and the importance of the film production tax credit, creating high paying jobs and current job gains. Tax credits go to films that spend 60% of production costs in Pennsylvania.

“This study shows the strength of the motion picture and television industry in Pennsylvania and its ability to create high paying jobs, even in difficult times,” said Stefani Pashman, CEO of TRWIB. “This data reinforces the need to retain the film production tax credit, a tax incentive that has given our state a distinct competitive advantage. In 2008 alone, the motion picture and television industry employed over 15,000 workers with wages that average $85,500 in Philadelphia and $67,200 in Pittsburgh. At a time when jobs are being lost, we cannot afford to let go of this tax credit and damage a growing industry cluster. Without the film industry tax credit, Pennsylvania will lose high paying jobs, and the opportunity to bring high profile projects to Pennsylvania.”

Workforce Study Highlights:

  •     The motion picture and television industry in the Commonwealth currently ranks 6th in the nation with 2.5% of the national motion picture and video employment.
  •     According to the latest data available, there were 799 motion picture and television industry establishments in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in 2007. These establishments created 9,785 jobs and generated $613 million in payroll.
  •     Motion picture and television industry wages have grown annually by 2.1% as compared to 1.5% in the private sector. The average annual wage in the industry is relatively high at $66,676 and in the Motion Picture and Video Production sector alone, there was a 17% increase in employment and a 38% increase in wages.
  •     The production sector reported a marked increase in the number of workers between 2001 and 2008 growing by 44% and adding 1,482 workers making it the sector with the largest workforce.
  •     There were about 15,180 workers who held a motion picture and television industry job for at least 1 quarter or more during 2008 in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
  •     When not working in the motion picture and television industry, workers were employed in a variety of other industries. A large number of workers are recorded as being employed by Temporary Help Services and Payroll Services.

For example, Entertainment Partners, a major film industry payroll service, reports that they paid over $25 million in wages to Pennsylvania residents in FY 06. This amount jumped to over $75 million in FY 08. These employees are not counted in the employment and wage data for motion picture and television production but as payroll service employment.

  •     The motion picture and television industry in Pennsylvania is concentrated in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia. These two regions accounted for 64% of the industry jobs.

Both metro regions experienced jobs gains: Pittsburgh gained 576 jobs or 40% of the industry-wide growth and Philadelphia added 193 jobs, or 6% since 2001. Average annual wages in these two regions were higher than in other regions: $85,500 in Philadelphia and $67,200 in Pittsburgh.

  •     According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the growth forecast for motion picture and television industry occupations is strong. These include multimedia artists, animators and audio and video equipment technicians.
  •     Pennsylvania has at least 70 post secondary institutions including community colleges, public and private colleges and universities and certificate programs that offer courses in motion picture and video production and related subjects such as technical theater.
  •     Pennsylvania has a growing Career and Technical Education initiative at the high school level “Arts, A/V Technology and Communications” that includes printing and graphic communications as well as film/video/cinema production. Approximately 74 schools offer approved instructional programs.

The Commonwealth’s public secondary schools have 16,160 students enrolled in Drama and Theater, 3,936 students in Film Studies, 6,940 students in Broadcast Communications, as well as thousands of students in related courses such as aesthetics, art criticism, and photography.

“The film industry is concentrated in Los Angeles and New York City,” said Dawn Keezer, executive director of the Pittsburgh Film Office. “When producers look beyond those areas, they consider physical assets, tax credits and the quality of workers. In interviews with producers who have filmed here recently, the consensus is that Pennsylvania is a terrific place to make movies. For most, their ability to return depends on the tax incentive. Since the incentive is currently in place for a year at a time, producers told us it is difficult for them to plan ahead, in case the incentive is no longer available. Without it, Pennsylvania will lose jobs and tax revenues and cripple a flourishing industry.” The full study and its executive summary are available at: http://www.trwib.org.

Pennsylvania first enacted the Film Production Tax Credit in 2004. Since then, the cap for the program was increased to $75 million and currently sits at $42 million. The number of projects awarded under the tax credit program rose from 9 projects in fiscal year 2006-2007 to 15 projects in fiscal year 2007-2008. After the cap was raised to $75 million, the number of projects grew more than fourfold to 69 projects in fiscal year 2008-2009. A total of 42 states offer incentives for the film industry and 10 states, including Connecticut, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Montana, New Mexico, North Carolina and Wisconsin have no annual caps on state funding.

The new workforce study dovetails another that was released and completed in May 2009 for the Pennsylvania Legislative Budget and Finance Committee by Economic Research Associates (ERA). That study of the film industry projected that in fiscal year 2007-2008 the industry generated a net fiscal gain to Pennsylvania of $4.5 million.

ABOUT THREE RIVERS WORKFORCE INVESTMENT BOARD
The Three Rivers Workforce Investment Board (TRWIB) informs decision-making on regional development to ensure that current and future market needs of businesses and job seekers are met. TRWIB fulfills its mission by acquiring, managing, interpreting, and sharing relevant workforce data, identifying and researching critical workforce issues and advising on public policy with employers and employment sectors. Information is available at http://www.trwib.org.

ABOUT THE ENTERTAINMENT ECONOMY INSTITUTE
EEI, headquartered in Los Angeles California, is recognized as one of the foremost consulting firms in the country specializing in creative sector workforce development and education. Additional information is available at http://www.entertainmentecon.org.

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