Unemployment and the Creative Class

By Richard Florida

The U.S. unemployment rate is 9.7 percent, the highest in some time, but the burden of unemployment is  spread unevenly across the economy. Production workers face a 15.1 percent unemployment rate, while unemployment among construction and extraction workers stands at 17 percent. But unemployment among management and professional workers is only 5.4 percent. Researchers at the Martin Prosperity Institute (MPI) previously identified long-run differences in the unemployment rates faced by industrial workers and knowledge, professional, and creative workers.

New analysis by the MPI team tracks unemployment among management and professional - or creative class - workers from 1983 to the present. While unemployment among creative class workers as a whole is far below the rate faced by production and construction workers, there is considerable variation in unemployment among the various occupations, professions, and job types that make up the creative class.

Creative workers in arts, design, and entertainment occupations consistently face higher unemployment rates and significant spikes during recessions. In contrast to other creative fields, the unemployment rate for arts, design, and entertainment workers sometimes runs higher than the overall unemployment rate.

Computer, sciences, and engineering professionals experience lower rates of unemployment than arts, design, and entertainment workers. But the lowest rates of unemployment and the most stable employment are found in meds and eds occupations - health and education - where unemployment stays consistently low, even during downturns.

The full analysis is here.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2009/09/unemployment-and-the-creative-class/26552/