Study: job growth boffo

Report sez industry employment peaked in 1999

A state-funded study has found that the number of showbiz jobs in California grew by 29% between 1991 and 2002 — significantly faster than the 17% hike for private employment overall in the state during the same dozen years.

The report, issued Wednesday by Entertainment Economy Institute, asserted that entertainment industry jobs peaked at 336,000 in 1999 and slid to 294,000 over the next three years. The figures are nearly double the state’s official numbers, which often can’t track employees at small firms.

The report found 131,868 “core” employees with at least 75% of their employment from the entertainment industry and another 148,221 “intermittent” employees with 25% to 75% of their total employment in showbiz. There were another 117,894 “peripheral” employees with less than 25% of their work in entertainment.

“Entertainment workers faced a competitive labor market environment,” the report said, noting the jobs-to-workers ratio has ranged from a low of 0.67 in 1993 to a high of 0.79 in 1997. Per the report, a ratio of less than 1 suggests more than one worker is available for every job. “As a result, in any given year, almost half of entertainment workers relied on non-entertainment jobs for their primary income,” it said.

The report, funded by a $742,000 state grant from the governor’s discretionary Workforce Investment Act funds, was designed to help set public policy on employment, taxes and economic development programs.

“An analysis of workers and earnings like this has never been done before in any industry,” said Kathleen Milnes, president and CEO of the institute. “Our access to individual worker information provided a unique opportunity to look at industry workers and their employment patterns during this 12-year period.”

The study found that average payroll wages for the entertainment industry were “consistently higher” than average private sector payroll — $56,253 compared with $40,769. It also found that although most people associate the entertainment industry with the seven major studios, most of the industry consists of firms that have less than 20 employees.

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