The latest figures on the Creative Industries (CI) are out. For the most part they hint at the beginning of a downturn although overall it’s a sector that still punches above its weight when compared with the rest of the economy. You should make yourself aware of two things: these are 2006/2007 figures (the latest available) and they are, as ever, based on sufficiently flaky sources to be classed as estimates rather than National Statistics.
With that in mind here are the highlights:
- The overall value of the CI dropped from 6.8% to 6.4% between 2005 and 2006. The 2005 figure was previously given as 7.3% but there seems to have been some revisions since the last estimates were produced in 2007.
- The rate of growth remained higher than the economy as a whole but slowed from 6% growth (2005 figures) to 4% growth (2006 figures). The change means that rather growing at twice the rate of the economy as a whole they grew at just 1% more.
- The decline in growth is across many sub-sectors but with a significant (-23%) drop in Advertising. Software declined just 3% but this is after a continual period of growth since the estimates began (in 1998). The Video, Film & Photograpy sub-sector grew by 27%.
- Exports grew from £14.5billion to £16billion although that’s still a slight drop (from 4.5% to 4.3%) of all the goods exported.
- Creative employment grew from 1.9 million to 1.97 million between 2006 and 2007. This includes those is creative occupations but in firms outside the creative industries.
- There is a large rise in the number of CI businesses between 2007 and 2008, an extra 50,000 in fact (up to 157,000). However, this is largely due to a change in methodology: “the figures have been enhanced to include enterprises based on PAYE employers that are not also registered for VAT.” Previously only VAT registered businesses have been included.
Difficult to draw conclusions from all this as the data is poor enough that fluctuations have to be ignored to a certain extent. The rate of growth seems to dropping though and the question is will it drop into negative growth along with the rest of the economy or remain just above and be one of the few industries to weather the recession relatively intact. What may decline significantly is creative employment. There are more creatives outside of the CI than within, so as the rest of the economy shrinks we can expect many creative jobs to go as well, even if those in creative firms remain static.