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Home > Art > Study shows arts’ impact on S.C. economy exceeds $9.7B

The jobs, tax revenue, and spending by South Carolina’s arts-related sector add $9.7 billion to the state’s economy, according to a new economic impact study released by the S.C. Arts Commission.

Additional findings in “South Carolina’s Arts-Related Economic Cluster” include that the arts:

  • support 115,000 jobs,
  • are responsible for $3.8 billion in labor income,
  • and generate $269 million in tax revenue.

Around 300 choral students from Richland 2 high schools gathered to begin Arts Advocacy Day on the State House steps with song.

According to the study, the arts form a cluster like other large sectors of the state’s economy. Along with manufacturing and agriculture, “the arts-related cluster is a linchpin of state and local economic development.” It goes on to conclude that, “from any perspective, these are considerable economic benefits.” The study was authored by Douglas P. Woodward, Ph.D.

Woodward examined 2014 data from the U.S. census and economic analysis bureaus and commerce department to complete the report, analyzing the S.C. economy associated with the arts, design, crafts, and related activities. He is the director of the Division of Research and professor of economics at the Darla Moore School of Business at the University of South Carolina.

“It’s certainly appropriate for state leaders to pay attention to the arts as a viable economic driver just as they do agriculture, manufacturing, and other key sectors,” S.C. Arts Commission Executive Director Ken May said. “This report gives context to the work by artists and arts organizations all over the state and connects those efforts to S.C.’s creative economy.”

The study utilized an economic multiplier model to determine the extent of the arts-related cluster’s impact. Researchers first analyzed the number of direct jobs in the sector and then assessed its economic impact using a model of South Carolina’s economic linkages – how spending in one sector spreads. Music and arts organizations, for example, hire workers who spend money in the local economy, leading to a ripple-effect of further income and spending through various other sectors. The concept of an economic multiplier is an accepted and widely practiced technique used to assess the total impact of regional business activities.

For context, a recent study on the USC statewide system reported a $5.5 billion impact. Leading sectors in the state include agribusiness at $41 billion, automotive at $27 billion, and tourism at $20 billion.

The complete study is available from the Arts Commission website at: http://www.southcarolinaarts.com/economic/artsclusterreport

Featured photo: Teaching artist Bob Doster of Lancaster helps a student with metal sculpture.

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