Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Employment Projections for Arts, A/V Technology, and Communications, 2010-2020

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The Arts, A/V Technology, and Communications career cluster is expected to grow only slightly over the next decade. According to Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates, this cluster employed 2.2 million people nationwide in 2010 and will only add about 150,000 new jobs by 2020. The cluster is expected to grow by 7% between 2010 and 2020, growing more slowly than average compared to other clusters and the national average of 14%.

Cluster Overview:
Expectations for Change, 2010-2020
Arts and the media exert such a huge influence over American life that many don't realize how small this cluster is and how few job opportunities it provides. Ten times more people work in the Business Management and Administration cluster than are found in Arts, A/V Technology, and Communications. The business cluster is also expected to grow almost twice as fast as the arts cluster.

Like all clusters, Arts, A/V Technology, and Communications is being impacted by changing technology. The explosion of the internet is having a particularly dramatic impact on printing and journalism. More and more people read newspapers and magazines online instead of on paper, radically reducing the demand for printing services. And traditional journalists and broadcasters now compete with online news sources, many of which are not created by "journalists" or "broadcasters" but by subject matter experts who reach their audience directly via the internet and social media. As a result, many jobs in printing and journalism are disappearing.

Opportunities seem to be expanding for content providers, such as graphic designers, dancers, producers, and directors. Thirty years ago people experienced art at concerts, performances, movie theaters, and museums, or through three television channels and a relatively limited number of periodicals. The amount of "art" needed to fill these spaces was limited. Today, we have hundreds of television channels that run 24-7, the internet with its vast pipeline of streaming movies, online games and periodicals, Youtube videos, and an endless number of websites — all of them needing constant "content".  Artists provide that content and the demand for their work is rising as the space to be filled grows. This constant rising demand for artists does not, however, make any of these jobs less competitive. As the demand for art of all sorts grows, so does the number of people who want to produce it. Jobs in the visual and performing arts will always be competitive.

Although it is clear that demand for this field in general is growing, I have doubts about the accuracy of specific estimates and the projections. Many of these occupations are very small and the nature of the industry makes them difficult to analyze and predict. The BLS estimates, for example, that America currently has jobs for more Choreographers, who create dances, than for the Dancers who perform them —13,000 to 12,400 — and predicts that the gap will grow even wider by 2020, as Choreographers increase by 24 percent and Dancers by 11 percent.  I don't believe it. The growth rates predicted in the 2008-18 projections seem much more reasonable — 7 percent for dancers and 5 percent for choreographers.

Projections Data: What the BLS tells us about employment
Every two years the BLS releases new national employment projections for over 700 different occupations. The projections include five important pieces of information discussed in this post.
Estimated 2010 employment: The estimated number of jobs or positions in each occupation. (This is a count of positions, not workers; many people have two jobs).
Projected 2020 employment: The estimated number of jobs or positions in each occupation. (A count of positions, not workers; many people have two jobs).
Numeric Change 2010-2020 or "New Jobs:" Most occupations are expected grow by 2020 as employers  create new positions or "new jobs."
Percent Change 2010-2020: The percent increase or decrease in employment over the decade. This information helps us compare the rate of change across jobs of different sizes.
Job Openings 2010-2020: Job opportunities arise in two ways: when employers create new jobs and when workers retire or leave an occupation and need to be replaced by new hires. The BLS projects how many people will be retiring from each occupation over the decade and combines this with the number of new jobs to predict how many "job openings" will become available. Even shrinking occupations have job openings because employers  need to replace some of the people who retire with new workers.
Pathways Overview
The Arts, A/V Technology, and Communications cluster is divided into six pathways: Audio and Video Technology and Film, Journalism and Broadcasting, Performing Arts, Printing Technology, Telecommunications, and Visual Arts. All of the pathways are expected to grow between now and 2020 with the exception of the Printing Technology, which is projected to lose about 16,000 jobs over the next decade.
  • Performing Arts was the largest pathway in 2010, employing around 700,000 people. It will remain the largest pathway in 2020, growing to about 770,000 employees.
  • Performing Arts will also have the greatest number of new jobs and job openings between now and 2020.  
  • The Visual Arts and the Audio and Video Technology and Film pathways are likely to grow in the next decade at about an average rate compared to other clusters and the national average of 14%.
  • Journalism and Broadcasting is a small pathway employing about 285 thousand workers, and will remain small. The BLS projects the addition of about five thousand new jobs by 2020, but this seems ambitious. The pathway may be shrinking instead.
  • The Telecommunications pathway is not adequately represented by the current crosswalk of BLS occupations to clusters. Only one occupations is included — Telecommunications Line Installers and Repairers — not enough to constitute a meaningful pathway.
  • Audio and Video Technology and Film is the fastest growing pathway. Graphic Designers and Audio and Video Equipment Technicians are expected to add many new jobs.
Pathways Employment Overview (in 1000s)

Pathways and Number of Occupations
Audio and Video Technology and Film (4) 386.2432.346.212%160.3
Journalism and Broadcasting (7)285.5290.45.12%93.6
Performing Arts (10)707.876961.39%246.3
Printing Technology (5)330.5314.8-15.7-5%74.6
Telecommunications (1) 160.6182.521.914%51.4
Visual Arts (6)303.6333.930.410%85.9
All Other (2)50.754.43.77%15.7
Total2,224.9 2,377.3 152.9 7%727.8

Job Openings and New Jobs
The BLS projects "job openings" for each occupation that arise from the combination of newly created positions and the need to replace workers who retire.  The BLS projects that there will be over 725,000 job openings in Arts, A/V Technology, and Communications cluster occupations through 2020.  Most of these job openings will be to replace retirees, as the cluster is only expected to add 150,000 new jobs between now and 2020.

The occupations expected to have the most job openings nationwide are:
  • Graphic Designers,
  • Musicians and Singers,
  • Telecommunications Line Installers/Repairers,
  • Producers and Directors, and
  • Writers and Authors.

Complete Listing
The table below gives the complete picture of how occupations in  Arts, A/V Technology, and Communications are expected to change between 2010 and 2020.
Employment Projections (in 1000s)

Pathways and Occupations IncludedEmployment 2010Employment 2020New JobsPercent ChangeJob Openings
Audio and Video Technologies Pathway386.2432.346.212%160.3
Graphic Designers279.2316.537.313%123.8
Audio and Video Equipment Technicians61.269.48.213%25.6
Sound Engineering Technicians19.019.10.11%5.5
Journalism and Broadcasting Pathway285.5290.45.12%93.6
Reporters and Correspondents51.948.0-3.9-8%18.4
Broadcast Technicians36.740.03.39%13.8
Radio Operators1.21.30.17%0.4
Performing Arts Pathway707.876961.39%246.3
Producers and Directors122.5136.013.511%49.7
Music Directors and Composers93.2102.89.610%32.2
Musicians and Singers176.2194.117.910%60.7
Entertainers and Performers, Sports and Related Workers, All Other42.844.71.94%13.2
Writers and Authors145.9155.49.57%47.6
Film and Video Editors31.633.21.65%7.3
Makeup Artists, Theatrical and Performance3.53.60.13%0.8
Printing Technologies Pathway330.5314.8-15.7-5%74.60
Desktop Publishers22.619.2-3.3-15%4.2
Camera and Photographic Equipment Repairers3.33.60.310%1.2
Prepress Technicians and Workers50.842.8-8.1-16%11.9
Printing Press Operators200.1197.2-2.9-2%39.2
Print Binding and Finishing Workers53.752.0-1.7-3%18.1
Visual Arts Pathway303.6333.930.410%85.9
Craft Artists11.812.70.97%3.7
Fine Artists, Including Painters, Sculptors, and Illustrators25.727.72.08%8.1
Multimedia Artists and Animators66.572.05.58%21.4
Artists and Related Workers, All Other19.319.50.21%4.8
Commercial and Industrial Designers40.845.14.311%16.9
Telecommunications Pathway160.6182.521.914%51.4
Telecommunications Line Installers and Repairers160.6182.521.914%51.4
All others50.754.43.77%15.7
Media and Communication Workers, All Other32.536.23.711%12.4
Media and Communication Equipment Workers, All Other18.218.20.00%3.3