We created The Closing Bell last spring after we figured out staffers, contributors and insiders were sitting on too much news that couldn’t wait for the Monday Business Briefing. Since then, TCB has become one of our best-read features.

This week’s TCB runs the biz news gamut, from a rise in Louisville home-flipping to employment in the arts statewide (turns out there are way more Kentuckians making a living in creative jobs then we ever would have guessed).

Kentucky’s creative industry includes 60,000 jobs

3401108-Scene_from_Shakespeare_in_the_Park_Kentucky1The Kentucky Arts Council‘s newly released annual report reveals some interesting findings when it comes to jobs in the state’s creative industry. Employment in that realm — which is about 60,000 jobs — places it ahead of industries like bioscience and auto and aircraft manufacturing.

The report defines the creative industry as those working in visual arts, design, performing arts and media. (Note: We’re flattered they consider media types “creative.”) According to the report:

“The creative industry thrives in Kentucky, playing an important role in building and sustaining the economic vibrancy of the communities in which it can be found. The industry creates jobs for Kentuckians who spend money locally, pay taxes and contribute to the quality of life where they live.”

Insider Louisville pulled some key points from the 121-page report.

  • The total number of jobs in the creative industry represented 2.5 percent of all employment in the state, and the businesses in the field accounted for almost $2 billion in total earnings in 2013.
  • Kentucky jobs in the creative industry place it higher than the IT/communications field and auto/aircraft manufacturing, but just below transportation/distribution/logistics and higher education.
  • The 60,000 creative industry jobs are broken down like this: 25,916 in media (film production, book publishing, newspapers, etc.); 19,131 in design (architecture, interior design, graphic design, product design, etc.); 8,928 in performing arts (dance, theater, music, etc.); and 6,528 in visual arts (individuals, studios, galleries, etc.).
  • Self-employed artists and designers make up 38 percent of Kentucky’s creative segment.
  • Those in the creative industry reported their No. 1 need  is publicity.
  • Kentucky’s film production tax incentives program is less generous than those in other states, so filmmaking companies often go elsewhere.
  • Our newspaper industry has fared relatively well compared with other states, but employment still has declined (by 11.2 percent). While newspapers remain major employers in the state, they will likely experience continued decline in coming years, to be replaced by emerging alternative types of media (ahem).
  • Producing theaters exist throughout Kentucky, but the concentration of nationally significant and experimental theaters makes Louisville noteworthy.
  • The vast majority of designers work within region bounded by Covington, Lexington and Louisville.
  • Most of Kentucky’s visual artists have supplemental means of income and work out of their homes.