Where is the job growth? Not in Philly

Courtesy of FX

For years, we’ve heard that Philadelphia’s population has grown, thanks in large part to young people attracted by a vibrant and expanding arts scene.

While it’s true that Philadelphia’s population has grown, a new analysis by a New York City public policy organization has cast doubt on whether creative industries are actually growing in Philadelphia.

The size of creative industries in Philadelphia fell 24 percent between 2003 and 2013 to 11,841 jobs, according to the Center for an Urban Future, which says Philadelphia came in dead last in job growth among cities it analyzed.

The new report, which was designed to highlight the importance of creative industries to New York City’s economy, used Bureau of Labor Statistics to count the number of people employed in the architecture, television and film production, advertising, publishing and other industries.

Growth in the Big Apple’s creative economy topped 15 percent to 216,000 jobs, the report noted, despite sky-high real estate costs and a high cost of living that makes paychecks seem comparatively smaller.

Local arts administrators questioned the numbers in the Center for an Urban Future analysis.

“It doesn’t seem logical to me,” said Sharon Pinkenson, executive director of the Greater Philadelphia Film Office.

An analysis by the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance pegs the number of local arts-related jobs at 44,000.

The difference might be that the two organizations are counting different things. The Center for Urban Future’s analysis excludes freelancers. The cultural alliance includes chefs and bartenders whose jobs are supported by arts funding in their review of available data.

For those on the hunt for jobs in the arts, Philly’s lower cost of living give young creators lots of opportunities to experiment.

“There are lots of places you can go and create work, said Hannah Van Sciver, 22, an actress, photographer and restaurant hostess. “I also know that a decade from now or two decades or now, I don’t know if I want to be in Philly.”

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