Unemployment in the arts next year is likely to be far higher than in the rest of the economy, and without a co-ordinated plan a quarter of all arts jobs could be lost by the end of 2021, new research shows.
Publishing an update of an Employment and Economic Impact Assessment by global consultants EY, the Arts Council said the arts could act as a ‘civic force field’ during the crisis and should be at the heart of Ireland’s recovery strategy.
The state agency for funding and developing the arts said it remained committed to protecting jobs and livelihoods across the sector to ensure sorely needed access to the arts for the public in 2021 and beyond.
“The Arts Council received significant additional funding from the Government in 2020 to help alleviate the impact of the crisis on artists and arts organisations, and we are putting all of those extra resources to good use. In our pre-Budget submission we have requested €135 million for 2021, and this report demonstrates just how urgently this support is required,” said Arts Council Chair Prof. Kevin Rafter.
Arts Council Director Maureen Kennelly said the agency was focused on achieving the best outcomes for the arts in 2021 and beyond.
“The arts sector is facing extraordinary challenges with remarkable strength, solidarity and resilience,” she said. “We will continue to work with the Department of Media, Tourism, Arts, Culture, Sport and the Gaeltacht, and on Minister Catherine Martin’s Cultural Recovery Task Force, to make sure that the arts play a full part in our national recovery.”
The report calls for detailed planning to tailor to the often disparate needs and difficulties of artists and arts organisations, and co-ordination with the wider creative industries sector in an ambitious approach to recovery.
The core arts sector will lose 16 percent of its jobs this year, compared to 10 percent in the economy as a whole, the report says, warning also that if the scale of the recession in the arts pushes organisations into bankruptcy they will not be there to lead a recovery.
The update report uses new information since the early summer; the Living with Covid roadmap; and the likely timeline of the longevity of the Covid 19 crisis into late 2021.
Yannick Cabrol, Assistant Director at EY commented: “The Arts and Entertainment sectors will be hit harder and for longer than any other part of the economy by this pandemic. During the second quarter of this year it was the most impacted sector in Ireland with a 67.7 percent decline in GDP, ten times more than the rest of the economy. Recovery could take years with organisations closed down, artists discouraged, festivals cancelled and people worried about attending indoor events. The Arts is not only vital for our economy, but its development is at the heart of Project Ireland 2040 aspirations to build a more sustainable and resilient economic model. With a higher focus on indigenous SMEs rather than big multinational companies, it is a job-intensive sector contributing to a balanced regional development and our quality of life.”
The updated analysis includes the following key facts:
• Arts sector workers have been impacted severely by COVID-19. Some 58 percent of total arts sector employees were in receipt of the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme or the Pandemic Unemployment Payment (as of 24 August 2020).
• In 2020, the recession in the arts sector will be around -55 percent compared with -11 percent in the Irish economy as a whole. During Q2 2020, according to the latest CSO data, economic activity in the arts sector in Ireland fell by 67 percent.
• In 2021, the recession in the Arts sector could be between -18 and -43 percent, depending on the evolution of the pandemic and the level of sanitary restrictions. This compares with +6.6 percent for the rest of the economy, according to the latest EY ‘Economic Eye’ forecast.
• In 2020, the decrease in the number of jobs supported by the core arts sector is projected to be around -15.5 percent, putting around 1,600 arts jobs at risk compared with a 9.7 percent decline for the rest of the economy.
• This situation could get worse in 2021 depending on the economic and sanitary crisis. Without mitigating measures, the year-on-year impact on employment could be between -5 and -13 percent for the arts sector compared with +4.5% for the rest of the economy.
• From 2019 to 2021, between 2,000 and 2,700 arts jobs could be lost in Ireland as a result of COVID-19. This would represent roughly a quarter of the Arts workforce in Ireland.
The report says that the recovery of the arts sector may take until 2025 if nothing is done, with far-reaching and damaging consequences in terms of jobs, tourism attractiveness and balanced regional development throughout Ireland.
It calls for a an ambitious plan to support the creative industries, aligned and integrated with the wider government approach including that outlined in its Economic Considerations for Reinstating Economic Activity document.
The full report is available for download here.
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