Pandemic Cost Film and Video Production Nearly 92K Jobs, Study Says

California accounts for 50,000 of those, including 40,000 in L.A. County, according to an Otis College report

film set production below the line

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The 2021 Otis College of Art and Design Report on the Creative Economy, detailing the impact of COVID-19 on California’s creative sectors, reveals that motion picture and video production has been one of the hardest-hit industries in the creative sector with a loss of nearly 92,000 jobs nationwide.

The report, released Thursday by Otis College in a virtual conference,  said the state of California accounts for roughly 60,000 jobs lost. Los Angeles County alone makes up almost 50,000 of the total jobs lost in the sector.

Between February 2020 and December 2020, total job loss in the “creative economy” workforce reached 13.3% across California and 23.5% in Los Angeles County, the report said.

While production suffered the most extreme losses, all of the creative economy lost jobs after the pandemic hit. In California, “architecture and related services” lost 2,700 jobs, “creative goods and products” lost 5,800, “entertainment and digital media” lost 128,100, fashion lost 22,870, and “fine and performing arts” lost 15,900 for a total of roughly 175,360 jobs lost statewide.

Los Angeles County accounted for the bulk of the jobs lost in California, losing slightly more than 109,400 jobs between February and December.

“Last year’s events had some of the most disruptive impacts on the creative economy in recent memory,” said Charles Hirschhorn, president of Otis College, in a statement. “As policymakers look for ways to revive the economy, we hope the Otis College Report will provide a key resource.”

The job loss report reflects the steep downturn in local shooting recently reported by FilmLA.

The organization’s annual report on film and TV shooting in Los Angeles, released in January, revealed the full scope of the unprecedented damage to the industry inflicted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Waves of infection surges forced the number of shooting days in L.A. County down to 18,993 days, the lowest seen in over 25 years and down 48% from 2019.

The Otis College report is now in its 14th year. Read the full report here.

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