State Watch

New York City’s arts and culture jobs dropped by 66 percent last year

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New York City lost two-thirds of its cultural and entertainment jobs in the past year amid the coronavirus pandemic, according to a new report from the New York State Comptroller’s office.

The report released this month looked at jobs in performing arts and sports; amusement and recreation; and museums and parks, all of which saw dramatic drops starting in April as New York shut down to combat the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

“Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the level of employment, the number of establishments and total wages in the arts, entertainment and recreation sector had each expanded significantly over the past decade, growing at a much faster rate than for all sectors citywide,” the comptroller’s report stated.

“As of December 2020, employment had declined by 66 percent compared to one year earlier, the largest decline among all sectors in the City’s economy,” it said.

Almost 87,000 people remain in the New York arts and entertainment industry as of February.

The report notes that of the roughly 128,400 workers in the arts, entertainment and recreation sectors, around 31,000 were self-employed. Many of these jobs — actors, musicians and fitness instructors — are difficult or impossible to be done remotely.

Almost two-thirds of entities in the arts, entertainment and recreation sectors received Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans under coronavirus relief legislation passed last year, the report notes. This includes independent contractors and self-employed workers. According to the comptroller’s office, employers who were approved for PPP loans reported retaining 70 percent of all job in their sectors.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) earlier this month announced a series of 300 pop-up events as a way to “revitalize New York audiences and bring the struggling live entertainment sector roaring back to life.”

The events are set to take place across 100 days in all five of New York’s boroughs.

“Cities have taken a real blow during COVID, and the economy will not come back fast enough on its own – we must bring it back,” Cuomo said in a statement at the time.

Tags Andrew Cuomo arts and culture Coronavirus coronavirus pandemic Creative industries New York New York Paycheck Protection Program

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