Michigan’s Creative Class: $3.6B in Wages to 74,000 Employees


Nearly $3.6 billion was paid to some 74,000 employees in Michigan’s creative industry in 2011 (FY). Likewise, the state’s nonprofit creative community paid $196 million to 26,064 employees during the same period, says the latest report by ArtServe Michigan, a nonprofit organization that advocates for the state’s arts and cultural sector in addition to the creative industry.

“Every day, Michigan’s arts and cultural organizations and creative industries are making major contributions to our state’s economy — creating jobs, spending in local communities, generating tourism revenue, and shaping vibrant cities and towns that attract talent and business investment,” says Jennifer Goulet, ArtServe’s president and CEO.

The report identified more than 9,700 for-profit businesses in the state’s creative sector, ranging from art dealers to radio networks to accounting. All told, Goulet says the creative industry accounts for nearly 3 percent of Michigan’s annual employment. Leading industries included advertising, publishing and printing, design, film/media and broadcasting, and architecture.

Of wages generated in the for-profit sector, $1.3 billion, or roughly one third, came from Oakland County, which claims 1,979 creative establishments and 22,661 employees. Other top counties included Wayne ($808 million), Kent ($284 million), Washtenaw ($181 million), and Macomb ($175 million).

The report found Michigan’s arts and cultural destinations generated more than $2 billion in state tourism revenue in 2011 — more than golf, boating, sailing, hunting, fishing, hiking, and biking combined.

According to Goulet, the report’s results “prove the creative sector is poised for growth.” Now in its third year, the 2014 report, for the first time, included sole proprietors, entrepreneurs, and for-profit creative businesses as well as nonprofit arts and cultural organizations.

To read the full report, click here.