Employment in Jackson County’s Arts, Entertainment, and Recreation Industry

by Guy Tauer

March 6, 2024

The arts, entertainment, and recreation sector includes a wide range of establishments that operate facilities or provide services to meet varied cultural, entertainment, and recreational interests of their patrons. This sector comprises establishments that are involved in producing, promoting, or participating in live performances, events, or exhibits intended for public viewing; and establishments that preserve and exhibit objects and sites of historical, cultural, or educational interest; and establishments that operate facilities or provide services that enable patrons to participate in recreational activities or pursue amusement, hobby, and leisure-time interests. This is a seasonally industry with employment about 35% higher in July than it was in January 2022. In 2022, there were 113 business units that had 1,427 payroll jobs, with average annual wage of $32,805 in Jackson County. Total payroll that year was $46,812,783.
Graph showing Jackson County Art, Entertainment, and Recreation Employment, 2022

This industry has three main components. The smallest one in Jackson County is museums, historical sites, and similar institutions. Businesses in this subsector engage in the preservation and exhibition of objects, sites, and natural wonders of historical, cultural, and/or educational value. There were 71 payroll jobs among six business units in 2022 on an annual average basis, with total payroll of $2,242,184. The average wage per job was $31,580, about $10,000 less than the Oregon average. In September 2023, there were 102 payroll jobs, 26 more than in September 2019 prior to the pandemic recession.
Graph showing Jackson County Art, Entertainment, and Recreation Employment, 2001-2022

Amusement, gambling, and recreation subsector businesses operate facilities where patrons can primarily engage in sports, recreation, amusement, or gambling activities and/or provide other amusement and recreation services, such as supplying and servicing amusement devices in places of business operated by others; operating sports teams, clubs, or leagues engaged in playing games for recreational purposes; and guiding tours without using transportation equipment. In 2022, there were 851 jobs (annual average) among 64 business units and total payroll was $20,185,952 in Jackson County. Average wage per job was $23,720, not much less than the Oregon average wage of $25,709. Jobs in this industry have nearly recovered their pandemic recession losses, down about 14 jobs, between September 2019 and September 2023, the most recent month available. In other words, this industry had 98.4% of the jobs in late summer 2023 as it did in the late summer prior to pandemic.

Performing arts, spectator sports, and related industries subsector group establishments that produce or organize and promote live presentations involving the performances of actors and actresses, singers, dancers, musical groups and artists, athletes, and other entertainers, including independent (i.e., freelance) entertainers and the establishments that manage their careers. The classification recognizes four basic processes: producing (i.e., presenting) events; organizing, managing, and/or promoting events; managing and representing entertainers; and providing the artistic, creative, and technical skills necessary to the production of these live events. This subsector contains four industries for performing arts companies. Employment in Jackson County’s performing arts, spectator sports in 2022 was 504 among 42 business units on an annual basis, with $24,384,647 in total wages. While this portion of arts, entertainment, and recreation industry accounted for about 35% of total employment, the performing arts, spectator sports industry accounted for 52% of total arts, recreation, and entertainment payroll. This is due to average annual wages of $48,382 in 2022, the highest among the three components of the art, entertainment, and recreation industry. However, Jackon County’s average was lower than the Oregon statewide average of $69,013.

Jackson County has a relatively high concentration of employment in the performing arts and spectator sports industry, with the location quotient of 1.78. In other words, Jackson County has nearly twice the share of jobs in this industry as the U.S. average. Multnomah County was the only other in Oregon with a similar concentration of jobs in this industry, with a location quotient of 1.81. For comparison, Oregon has a slightly lower concentration of jobs in performing arts and spectator sports than the U.S. with a location quotient of 0.84.

Employment fell precipitously during the pandemic. In 2019, there were 760 payroll jobs in June, the peak month for the year. By June 2022 employment fell to just 220. By September 2023, this industry had 537 payroll jobs, or about three-quarters of the employment in September 2019, a decline of 21.5%.
Table showing Occupations in the Arts, Entertainment, and Recreation Industry

Due to data quality and other limitations, we only publish occupational and wage estimates for about one out of five jobs in arts, entertainment, and recreation for the Rogue Valley. But the statewide look at jobs in that industry does show several that have higher than average wages. While we don’t publish local data for these occupations, employment in higher wage occupations may account for boosting industry wages in the performing arts and spectator sports industry.
Graph showing Jackson County Art, Entertainment, and Recreation Real Gross Domestic Product, 2018-2022

The Bureau of Economic Analysis publishes gross domestic product – the value of all goods and services – by industry and county. This data shows that output in the arts, entertainment, and recreation industry has recovered from the pandemic recession, despite the lower number of jobs. In real, inflation-adjusted 2017 dollars, this sector had $121,954,000, which exceed the pre-pandemic total in 2019 of $112,657,000. In nominal 2022 dollars, total output for this industry was $136,464,000 in Jackson County. I know at least a few hundred of that was for my season ski pass to Mt. Ashland, which seems like a great way to keep local dollars going to a local business.

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