Ilya Bolotowsky, WPA Mural Williamsburg Housing Project, 1936
Liquitex on canvas, 82 x 204 inches
Washington, D.C. — Unemployment rates are up among working artists and the artist workforce has contracted, according to new research from the National Endowment for the Arts. Artists in a Year of Recession: Impact on Jobs in 2008 examines how the economic slowdown has affected the nation’s working artists. The study looks at artist employment patterns during two spikes in the current recession – the fourth quarters of 2007 and 2008. This downturn reflects larger economic declines: a Commerce Department report last week noted a 6.2 percent decrease in the gross domestic product in the last quarter of 2008.
Among the findings:
* Artists are unemployed at twice the rate of professional workers.
* Unemployment rates for artists have risen more rapidly than for U.S. workers as a whole.
* Artist unemployment rates would be even higher if not for the large number of artists leaving the workforce.
* Unemployment rose for most types of artist occupations.
* The job market for artists is unlikely to improve until long after the U.S. economy starts to recover.