News > Employment in arts and culture industries, February 2021

Employment in arts and culture industries, February 2021

While employment rebounded across the Canadian economy in February, the live performance sector took another dive. Self-employed artists and technicians, who had managed to hold on thanks to emergency support, are most severely impacted.

The statistics that followed are from Statistics Canada’s Labour Force Survey, a monthly survey of approximately 56,000 households. They provide an account of employment for full-time, part-time and occasional employees, as well as self-employed workers. CAPACOA licenced access to custom employment statistics from Statistics Canada in order to provide a detailed picture of job losses in the arts, culture and heritage sub-sectors during the COVID-19 crisis.

46,400 live performance jobs lost since the beginning of the pandemic

The words “hardest hit” are a euphemism for the performing arts, spectator-sports and related industries [NAICS 711]. 

Since February 2020, employment in the performing arts, spectator-sports and related industries fell from 135,600 to 89,200 jobs (-46,400). That’s one in three jobs (34.2%).

While employment rebounded 1.7% in February 2021 across all industries, the performing arts, spectator-sports and related industries were still not seeing any sign of stabilization. The sub-sector lost another 12,200 jobs (-12.0%) reaching a new historic low since the beginning of the pandemic.

Nearly all jobs lost were among independent artists, writers and performers [NAICS 7115] (-22.8%). This classification, which also includes technicians, is essentially composed of freelance workers. Self-employed workers are deemed employed, even if they worked a single hour during the Labour Force Survey reporting period. Because of this technical definition, employment levels in this industry group had therefore held relatively steady, at least until November. However, the sharp decline observed in February, confirms anecdotal stories heard in the sector and reported on in the news. Highly skilled workers are leaving the sector.

In terms of total hours worked, the performing arts, spectator-sports and related industries [NAICS 711] saw an 18.4% drop in February 2021. This sharp decline cancelled all gains since June 2020. 

One year after the beginning of the pandemic, total hours worked in the performing arts, spectator sports and related industries are still 48.8% away from their pre-COVID level.

Elsewhere in the Canadian economy

Besides performing arts, spectator sports and related industries, the arts, entertainment and recreation sector [NAICS 71] also includes heritage institutions [NAICS 712] and amusement, gambling and recreation industries [NAICS 713]. If these two sub-sectors experienced employment increases in February 2021 (see the table 2.B, below), they are nonetheless also very far from recovery. 

Employment in the arts, entertainment and recreation sector in February 2021 was 36,8% lower than in February 2020.  This is a much larger loss than any other sector of the Canadian economy.

The following chart compares the arts, entertainment and recreation sector to other sectors of the economy. It is the exact same chart as published by Statistics Canada in The Daily, except that it doesn’t lump together apples and oranges: the information and cultural industries sector [NAICS 51] and the arts, entertainment and recreation sector [NAICS 71] are presented as distinct sectors – as they should.

At -151,300 jobs in February 2021, the arts, entertainment and recreation sector accounts for 25,3% of the employment decline in the whole economy (-598,300) since the beginning of the pandemic.

Next: rebuild the sector

This was the eighth and last monthly analysis of the Labour Force Survey prepared and published by CAPACOA. As of April, Statistics Canada and Canadian Heritage will start releasing quarterly employment statistics for arts and culture industries. In coming months, CAPACOA will reallocate its resources to fully support the sector as it undertakes a long and slow rebuilding process. We want to thank readers who have shared words of appreciation for this series of monthly analyses. We invite everyone to keep referring to our COVID Impact Statistics page for ongoing monitoring of the situation.

Tables and notes

Table 1 – Labour force estimates (x 1,000) by selected industry, Canada, unadjusted for seasonality

Industry (with NAICS classification)Labour force, Feb. 2021 (x 1,000)c. previous month (x1,000) c. previous month (%) Feb. 2021 c. Feb. 2020 (x 1,000)Feb. 2021 c. Feb. 2020 (%)
Total, all industries19972.184.50.4%-64.0-0.3%
51, 71 Information, culture and recreation 1723.0-4.9-0.7%-63.7-8.1%
51 Information and cultural industries393.8-2.5-0.6%51.415.0%
   511 Publishing industries (except internet)69.9-16.5-19.1%-11.2-13.8%
   512 Motion picture and sound recording industries111.912.512.6%27.933.2%
   515 Broadcasting (except internet)33.80.61.8%5.519.4%
   517 Telecommunications126.8-2.7-2.1%25.124.7%
   518 Data processing, hosting, and related services 3xxxxx
   519 Other information services 245.05.112.8%8.423.0%
71 Arts, entertainment and recreation329.2-2.4-0.7%-115.1-25.9%
   711 Performing arts, spectator sports and related industries98.5-21.1-17.6%-41.4-29.6%
      7111 Performing arts companies 221.7-1.8-7.7%-20.9-49.1%
      7112 Spectator sports 26.7-1.4-17.3%-7.9-54.1%
      7113 Promoters (presenters) of performing arts, sports and similar events 29.9-3.1-23.8%-2.0-16.8%
      7114 Agents and managers for artists, athletes, entertainers and other public figures 3xxxxx
      7115 Independent artists, writers and performers56.2-14.3-20.3%-9.7-14.7%
   712 Heritage institutions26.61.66.4%-3.7-12.2%
   713 Amusement, gambling and recreation industries204.017.09.1%-70.1-25.6%

Source: Statistics Canada, Labour Force Survey, by selected industries, Canada, unadjusted for seasonality, February 2021. Calculations and data reliability notes by CAPACOA. This does not constitute an endorsement by Statistics Canada of this product. 

Table 2.A – Employment estimates (x 1,000), by sector, Canada, unadjusted for seasonality

Industry (with NAICS classification)Employment, Feb. 2021 (x 1,000)c. previous month (x1,000) c. previous month (%) Feb. 2021 c. Feb. 2020 (x 1,000)Feb. 2021 c. Feb. 2020 (%)
Total, all industries18251.6309.31.7%-598.3-3.2%
Agriculture241.1-6.8-2.7%-32.7-11.9%
Forestry, fishing, mining, quarrying, oil and gas310.4-4.5-1.4%1.60.5%
Utilities141.44.13.0%1.81.3%
Construction1329.00.80.1%-56.1-4.1%
Manufacturing1715.29.50.6%40.2%
Wholesale and retail trade2711.7117.84.5%-122.2-4.3%
Transportation and warehousing972.58.30.9%-49.8-4.9%
Finance, insurance, real estate, rental and leasing1269.1-7.9-0.6%33.82.7%
Professional, scientific and technical services1606.36.80.4%80.45.3%
Business, building and other support services675.013.92.1%-59.6-8.1%
Educational services1513.254.03.7%64.94.5%
Health care and social assistance2493.88.30.3%-25.3-1.0%
Information, culture and recreation632.57.71.2%-108.3-14.6%
Accommodation and food services876.464.68.0%-306.9-25.9%
Other services (except public administration)749.028.64.0%-52.6-6.6%
Public administration1015.04.10.4%28.62.9%

Source: Statistics Canada, Table 14-10-0022-01 Labour force characteristics by industry, monthly, unadjusted for seasonality (x 1,000).

Table 2.B – Employment estimates (x 1,000), by arts and culture sub-sector, Canada, unadjusted for seasonality

Industry (with NAICS classification)Employment, Feb. 2021 (x 1,000)c. previous month (x1,000) c. previous month (%) Feb. 2021 c. Feb. 2020 (x 1,000)Feb. 2021 c. Feb. 2020 (%)
Total, all industries18251.6309.31.7%-598.3-3.2%
51, 71 Information, culture and recreation 1632.57.71.2%-108.3-14.6%
51 Information and cultural industries373.21.30.3%4313.0%
   511 Publishing industries (except internet)69.0-16.1-18.9%-10-12.7%
   512 Motion picture and sound recording industries95.710.512.3%17.121.8%
   515 Broadcasting (except internet)32.42.37.6%4.315.3%
   517 Telecommunications125.1-0.5-0.4%26.526.9%
   518 Data processing, hosting, and related services 3xxxxx
   519 Other information services 44.66.617.4%9.426.7%
71 Arts, entertainment and recreation259.36.42.5%-151.3-36.8%
   711 Performing arts, spectator sports and related industries89.2-12.2-12.0%-46.4-34.2%
      7111 Performing arts companies 219.72.816.6%-20.1-50.5%
      7112 Spectator sports 25.92.259.5%-8.5-59.0%
      7113 Promoters (presenters) of performing arts, sports and similar events 29.4-2.1-18.3%-1.6-14.5%
      7114 Agents and managers for artists, athletes, entertainers and other public figures 3xxxxx
      7115 Independent artists, writers and performers50.2-14.8-22.8%-15.4-23.5%
   712 Heritage institutions 221.41.99.7%-6-21.9%
   713 Amusement, gambling and recreation industries148.716.812.7%-98.9-39.9%

Source: Statistics Canada, Labour Force Survey, by selected industries, Canada, unadjusted for seasonality, February 2021. Calculations and data reliability notes by CAPACOA. This does not constitute an endorsement by Statistics Canada of this product.

Table 3.A – Total actual hours worked estimates (x 1,000), by sector, Canada, unadjusted for seasonality

Industry (with NAICS classification)Total actual hours (x 1,000), Feb. 2021c. previous month (%) Feb. 2021 c. Feb. 2020 (%)
Total employed, all industries567252.8-2.5%-7.4%
Agriculture8658.9-5.5%-10.9%
Forestry, fishing, mining, quarrying, oil and gas12176.9-3.9%-3.6%
Utilities5025.3-4.5%-3.7%
Construction44197.4-4.1%-9.5%
Manufacturing60227.5-4.5%-6.2%
Wholesale and retail trade79957.71.8%-7.8%
Transportation and warehousing32199.0-3.4%-12.5%
Finance, insurance, real estate, rental and leasing41848.7-5.4%-1.2%
Professional, scientific and technical services53647.3-3.6%1.4%
Business, building and other support services19332.10.8%-12.9%
Educational services43096.2-4.0%0.9%
Health care and social assistance72566.0-4.3%-4.9%
Information, culture and recreation18453.8-4.3%-16.7%
Accommodation and food services21138.68.9%-31.7%
Other services (except public administration)21610.57.7%-16.6%
Public administration33117.0-5.6%1.4%

Source: Statistics Canada, Table 14-10-0036-01 Actual hours worked by industry, monthly, unadjusted for seasonality.

Table 3.B – Total actual hours worked estimates (x 1,000), arts and culture sub-sectors, Canada, unadjusted for seasonality

Industry (with NAICS classification)Total actual hours (x 1,000), Feb. 2021c. previous month (%) Feb. 2021 c. Feb. 2020 (%)
Total, all industries567252.8-2.5%-7.4%
51, 71 Information, culture and recreation 118453.8-4.3%-16.7%
51 Information and cultural industries12548.4-4.7%12.1%
   511 Publishing industries (except internet)2300.2-25.8%-17.7%
   512 Motion picture and sound recording industries3488.99.3%31.9%
   515 Broadcasting (except internet) 21064.1-3.9%15.9%
   517 Telecommunications4301.8-4.9%19.7%
   518 Data processing, hosting, and related services 3xxx
   519 Other information services 21159.826.3%41.2%
71 Arts, entertainment and recreation5905.4-3.4%-46.1%
   711 Performing arts, spectator sports and related industries2124.3-18.4%-48.8%
      7111 Performing arts companies 3xxx
      7112 Spectator sports 2197.174.1%-60.6%
      7113 Promoters (presenters) of performing arts, sports and similar events 3xxx
      7114 Agents and managers for artists, athletes, entertainers and other public figures 3xxx
      7115 Independent artists, writers and performers1290.7-22.0%-31.7%
   712 Heritage institutions 2594-5.0%-37.0%
   713 Amusement, gambling and recreation industries3187.210.4%-45.7%

Source: Statistics Canada, Labour Force Survey, by selected industries, Canada, unadjusted for seasonality, February 2021. Calculations and data reliability notes by CAPACOA. This does not constitute an endorsement by Statistics Canada of this product.  

Notes

  1. This series combines two distinct sectors: information and culture industries [NAICS 51] and arts, entertainment and recreation [NAICS 71]. Statistics Canada’s public Labour Force Survey tables can regrettably not be customized to display disaggregated arts and culture statistics. 
  2. The sample for this series is small. Month-to-month variations in this series should be interpreted with caution.
  3. The sample for this series is very small. Data is unreliable and unsuited for release.

Additional notes about the Labour Force Survey

  • “Labour force” estimates are the number of persons 15 years of age and over who, during the reference week, were employed or unemployed. “Unemployed” means persons who were without work, had looked for work in the past four weeks, and were available for work. Unemployed persons retain the NAICS industry classification of their previous job. 
  • “Employment” includes full-time, part-time and occasional employees, as well as self-employed workers who worked during the reference week, no matter how many hours. Certain sub-sectors that include a large proportion of self-employed workers, for example, independent artists may therefore not show a significant drop because those freelance workers may still have been considered “working”.
  • “Total actual hours worked” is a good indicator of the impacts of COVID-related restrictions on the labour force, because it offers an account of both the number of employed workers and the hours they worked. It is a particularly relevant indicator for sub-sectors that include a lot of freelance and occasional workers (and who may be deemed as “employed” even if they only worked a few hours during the reference period).
  • These statistics are not adjusted for seasonality (whereas many Statistics Canada tables are). Many culture industries are subject to significant seasonal variations. In order to have a fair estimation of employment change compared to pre-COVID level, it is therefore preferable to establish comparisons with the same period in 2019 rather than with February 2020.
  • The “711 Performing arts, spectator sports and related industries” sub-sector is a larger industry grouping than the “Live Performance” domain used in the Culture Satellite Account, but it is a fair proxy that can be tracked over time. The 711 sub-sector involves activities that aren’t part of the live performance domain such as 7112 Spectator sports, as well as parts of 7113, 7114 and 7115. Definitions for each industry group are available in the North American Industry Classification System 2017. More details on the mapping between NAICS 711 and the live performance domain can be found in the Classification Guide for the Canadian Framework for Culture Statistics 2011.

More information

More statistics from the Labour Force Survey in The Daily

Employment in arts and culture industries, December 2020

Prepared by: Frédéric Julien, Director of Research and Development.

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