The creative economy—which spans arts, culture, media, design, technology, education, health care, and law—is a key economic engine of advanced nations and cities. We already know a good deal about how creative industries stack up within countries. But, until now, a lack of similar data for different countries has made it difficult, if not impossible, to accurately compare the creative economy across nations by industry and city.
Now, a new report from the U.K.-based think tank NESTA takes a detailed look at the creative industries and cities of three of the world’s most advanced economies: the U.S., the U.K., and Canada. The report, by Max Nathan, Tom Kemeny, Andy Pratt, and my Martin Prosperity Institute colleague Greg Spencer, takes on this challenge by comparing the size, growth, and geography of creative employment. The report standardizes its results by comparing U.K. definitions to data for the U.S. and Canada using a common set of industry and occupational codes. The scope of how these researchers define the U.S. creative economy—which includes nine industries that employ 14 million workers, or less than ten percent of the workforce—is narrower than my own, which spans arts and culture, science and technology, and traditional knowledge and professional work and adds up to more than 40 million workers, or a third of the labor force.