We criticize Hollywood a lot. It's a white bubble of an industry in a city that is majority brown. And its moguls and creatives are helping to push our cost of living, including sky-high rents and home prices, through the roof.

But the entertainment industry does bring dollars to our community. That's a fact.

The 2014 Otis Report on the Creative Economy of California was released this week, and it concludes that the creative industries, including entertainment, visual arts, fashion and publishing, generate $293.8 billion to California's economy.


Interestingly, the report says that the “direct labor income” of the publishing and printing industries is worth more than that of entertainment.

More than 32 percent of the $71.4 billion taken home by culture workers in California goes to employees in publishing and printing, says the report from the Westchester-based Otis College of Art and Design.

Entertainment workers took home 23.2 percent of that cash.

So maybe state lawmakers and Gov. Jerry Brown erred when they decided to give Hollywood $1.6 billion in tax money over five years in the name of job salvation. It looks like industries like, oh, say, journalism, are just as important to California.

However: The report says that entertainment employed the most people, 164,000, with publishing and printing responsible for 131,200 jobs. Fashion has 120,100 hires, Otis says.

And keep in mind that both entertainment and fashion are based in Los Angeles. In fact, L.A.'s fashion industry is the largest in the United States.

Otis says one out of every 10 California workers is employed in the culture industries. And it's a business that's growing. Otis’ interim president Kerry Walk says:

With jobs in the creative industries projected to grow 4% statewide — an increase of more than 27,000 — it is critical that leaders from the public, private and nonprofit sectors work together to develop and sustain the talent pipeline that feeds the creative economy of California. A necessary first step is investment in accessible, high-quality arts education, but championing policies and practices that encourage creative placemaking, entrepreneurship and innovation are also required for growing the talent pipeline.

Credit: Otis

Credit: Otis

While we tend to hype the money and growth attached to Silicon Valley and the tech business, a summary of the report says, “Direct employment in California’s creative industries (694,900) was more than two and a half times the number of workers that are employed by the computer and electronic manufacturing sector (262,900) … .”

Says Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation chief economist Robert A. Kleinhenz:

The 21st-century California economy depends on invention, innovation and ideas. Its high-tech sectors and other leading industries benefit greatly from synergies with California’s creative industries.

Send feedback and tips to the author. Follow Dennis Romero on Twitter at @dennisjromero. Follow L.A. Weekly News on Twitter at @laweeklynews.

LA Weekly