2.7 Million Jobs in the Arts Have Been Lost Since the Pandemic Began

Connecting the Dots – #YesThisIsAnArtsStory Repost from Truthout

Sasha Abramsky | 19 December 2020

This past summer, the Brookings Institution released a report on the pandemic’s impact on the U.S.’s creative artists and the institutions that showcase their work. The numbers were overwhelming: a loss of 2.7 million jobs, and a collapse in arts-related revenues to the tune of $150 billion.

In the fine and performing arts category (visual arts, music, theater and dance), Brookings estimated that as the pandemic played out fully, half of all jobs in these fields would disappear.

Now, nearly a year into the crisis, the on-the-ground consequences for artists are all too real. In New York, the fabled Metropolitan Opera House recently announced a lockout of its stagehands after their union refused to agree to potentially multi-year wage cuts of upward of 30 percent (to be in effect until ticket sales are restored to pre-pandemic levels), while the New York Philharmonic’s unions accepted lower wages in the face of a lost music season. Across the country, in San Francisco the opera company imposed a 50 percent pay cut on its members, while the city’s philharmonic opted for a still-draconian 30 percent cut. Early in the shutdowns, the Los Angeles Board of Supervisors reported that a large proportion of the nearly 900,000 workers whose jobs are tied to Hollywood entertainment industries were out of work. Since then, some film and television production has resumed, but on a very limited basis. By and large, Los Angeles has remained in shut-down mode throughout most of 2020, and artists have not received sufficient support as they wait for the pandemic to abate.