Home   :   About Us   :   What's New   :   Arts Calendar   :   The Hub   :   Contact Us   :   Foundation

The Arts and the Economy

Economic Impact of the Arts in S.C. - Updated Statistics


In 2002, the South Carolina Arts Commission announced the outcome of a study from the University of South Carolina’s Moore School of Business Division of Research that says the cultural industry in South Carolina is BIG business. The report indicated that the cultural industry had a total economic impact -- direct and indirect -- of $1.9 billion. The industry also supported $700 million in earnings and 30,000 jobs statewide, or 1.6 % of all non-farm employment.


In the fall of 2007, these numbers were revised using 2006 statistics. The state’s cultural industry overall generates $2.4 billion dollars or more in economic output for the South Carolina economy, including $766,249,688 in salaries and wages from 31,490 jobs. That is a significant return on the state’s investment. Cultural activities can be measured and are a significant segment of the economy with complex linkages or multiplier effects.

Revised figures for 2006 are indicated below in bold lettering:


  • South Carolina artists’ activities supported a total of $25,451,842 in earnings, up from $23,043,284; 957 jobs, up from 870 jobs; and $151,743,478 of economic output, up from $120,549,836.
  • Festivals across the state, excluding Spoleto USA, Piccolo Spoleto, their largest expenditures were for personnel, materials and supplies, and marketing. This spending supports a total of $30,617,248 in labor earnings, up from $27,719,877; 1,148 jobs, up from 1044; and $132,728,908 in output, up from $105,444,058.
  • Charleston’s Spoleto USA and Piccolo Spoleto spending supported a total of $32,882,151 in labor earnings, up from $29,200,138; 1,713 full-time jobs, up from 1,628; and $85,343,366 in economic output, up from $67,799,479.
  • According to data providing by the State Department of Education, expenditure by the schools, primarily in the form of salaries, supports a total of $108,683,217 in earnings, up from $98.398,308; 4,082 jobs, up from 3,712; and $244,619,606 in output, up from $194, 333,580.
  • Numerous types of cultural organizations that were surveyed, including local arts councils, had operations that supported a total of $164,571,888 in earnings, up from $148,998,123; 6,202 jobs, up from 5,639; and $534,893,422 in economic output, up from $424,936,314.
  • The motion picture industry in South Carolina’s direct expenditures supported a total of $32,533,091 in wages and salaries, up from $29.454,420; 1,640 jobs, up from 1,491; and $93,804,832 in output, up from $74.521.536.
  • Among the for-profit segment of the cultural industry such as art galleries, craft suppliers, dance instructors, and photographers, the survey indicates that the amount of business activity at these firms corresponding with this level of employment results in total impact of $371,510,251 in earnings, is up from $329,910,001; 15,748 jobs, up from 14,963 jobs and $1,164,948,227 worth in economic output, up from $925,471,851.



Data from the “The Economic Impact of the Arts in South Carolina”: Dr. Donald L. Schunk, Research Economist for the Division of Research & Assistant Professor of Economics, and Dr. Sandra J. Teel, Associate Director of the Division of Research, Moore School of Business, University of South Carolina.


Revised 2006 data from Table 1, “The Economic Impact of the arts in SC”, BER, vol48 n.4, pg6. Updated by Paulo Guimaraes