Image Credit: Alessia Cocconi
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DCMS’s release of the 2014 Creative Industries Economic Estimates shows how quickly the creative economy is changing - and the efforts of economists to keep up.
The new data shows a growth sector contributing 5.2% of the UK’s GVA - worth £84bn. Between 2013 and 2014, the creative industries grew 8.9%. This growth is almost twice that of the rest of the economy (4.6% over the same period).
The data includes the first official government estimate of the value of the wider creative economy, which includes the contribution of those who are in creative occupations outside the creative industries, as well as all those employed in the creative industries. In 2014, the creative economy contributed 8.2% of the UK’s GVA - £133bn.
In other words, people working in Creative Occupations outside the Creative Industries add another £49bn in GVA on top of the creative industries contribution.
The report also lists some methodological changes to improve the estimates. Three of the key issues are:
The lag before we can access the data (the new data is already two years old), as well as estimates at the sub-national level. In contrast, real-time, locally specific data is becoming the norm in the private sector.
The inadequacy of Standard Industrial Classification Codes (SIC) and Standard Occupational Classification Codes (SOC) which need to fit a changing sector. Modifying SIC and SOC codes is hard. They derive from the International Standard Industrial Classification of All Economic Activities (ISIC), as defined by the United Nations, and any changes need a careful process of harmonisation, which can then enable the international comparisons which are becoming more important.
Under representation of micro-businesses and self-employment, whose contribution is not fully captured in current GVA estimates. To tackle the issue, the DCMS will weight the figures - with the precise details still to be worked out. As these are likely to be growth areas in the creative economy, this is an important change.
So the challenges for DCMS’s statisticians mirror many of the rapid changes the creative economy is going through. And the only sure bet is that this change will continue.
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Jonathan is an economist with over a decade’s experience in impact assessment and evaluation, and high-level policy experience, particularly within the cultural and creative sectors.
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