Sales and workforce earnings related to the Charleston area's creative economy are up, says an updated report about the sector.
"It's definitely a growing sector of the economy, and this study shows that it continues to grow," said Mary Graham, senior vice president of business advocacy at the Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce.
The Charleston Region's Creative Economy report was recently completed by the chamber's Center for Business Research as an update to the original 2010 study.
Gross sales associated with creative industries in the Charleston Metro area increased by nearly 80 percent, from $1.4 billion in 2009 to $2.5 billion in 2012, says the report. The report also notes that creative jobs in all industries paid an average hourly wage of $24.03 in 2012, up from $18.35 in 2009.
"What's interesting is that people naturally get the impact of the automotive industry, of the aerospace industry here, but they don't automatically consider the im- pact of the creative workforce," said Stephen Warner, vice president of global marketing and regional competitiveness at the Charleston Regional Development Alliance. "It's likely because they're fragmented among different sectors, and a strong portion of them are freelancers."
The report, funded in part by Charleston's Creative Parliament, a volunteer coalition of creative professionals, notes that creative jobs are not limited to traditional arts, but encompass everything from urban design to publishing to culinary arts.
"Creative industries are key to quality of life, which is key to talent attraction," said Lee Deas of Creative Parliament. What makes our city so great is the restaurants, the variety of art, the history, the festivals."
Warner said the findings line up with Charleston's reputation as a culturally rich city.