The “Creative Industries” reports from Americans for the Arts are annual tallies of arts-centric businesses and arts-centric employees in communities. The “arts” in the Creative Industries are defined by 644 codes in the Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) system that was used in economic, business, and policy analysis for decades until the mid-1990s. SIC is a legacy system, as the NAICS or North American Industrial Classification System is more commonly used these days, including in many Local Arts Index indicators. The SIC system is detailed, with unique codes for specific business types, even those with relatively few such enterprises. There are SIC codes for makers of both calliopes and accordions, for example. So, it was a relatively fine-grained system for distinguishing one business type from another. NAICS or North American Industrial Classification System is in common use nowadays, and has a broader brush, assigning one code to all musical instrument manufacturers. Click here for a list of SIC Creative Industries codes.

Dun & Bradstreet (D & B) is an information services company that gathers and reports information from the vast majority of American businesses and nonprofits, and still categorizes businesses on the old SIC system. Some years ago, Americans for the Arts selected 644 SIC “arts-centric” codes to describe the “Creative Industries,” and D & B provides county-level tallies of these arts-centric organizations (both business and nonprofit) and their employment counts using SIC detail. AFTA reports these annually as its “Creative Industries” measure.

This indicator helps to describe the weight of the arts sector in a community’s overall labor market. It is the percentage of all employees in a community that work in arts-centric businesses or nonprofits. This indicator is based on data gathered in 2014. These numbers are smaller than the corresponding arts share of all businesses, implying that arts and culture businesses are probably smaller than other kinds of businesses.

Additional Information: Counties with indicator value = 3,086. Average county indicator value = 1.06%. Median county indicator value = 0.85%.


Fast Facts from the Arts Index

Demand for arts in education by college-bound students is up!

According to data published by The College Board, the share of SAT test-takers with 4 years of arts or music classes in high school has grown over the past decade from 15% to 20%. The number of college arts degrees conferred annually have risen steadily from 75,000 to 129,000 over the past dozen years.