2020 City of Denver Creative Economy Report with Initial Impacts of the COVID-19 Crisis

Denver Arts & Venues has released the 2020 City of Denver Creative Economy Report with Initial Impacts of the COVID-19 Crisis. The report details the scale, scope, and growth of the Denver metropolitan region’s creative economy between 2010 and 2019. The report also estimates the initial effects of the COVID-19 crisis on the region’s creative economy. 

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The report finds that the Denver metropolitan region’s creative industries support 96,358 jobs and there are 88,217 employed in creative occupations across multiple industries within the region. Employment in the region’s creative industries grew by 29% between 2010 and 2019 with an addition of 21,546 jobs. Employment in creative occupations grew by 28% in the same time period with an addition of 19,429 jobs. The top five clusters of creative industries in the Denver metropolitan region by employment include Music, Theater, Dance, and Visual Arts (33,776 jobs), Design and Advertising (14,072 jobs), Architecture and Living Spaces (11,965 jobs), Creative Technology (11,951 jobs), and Film, Television, and Radio (10,252 jobs).

According to the report, Denver’s creative industries produced $16.2 billion in sales of goods and services (sales revenue) in 2019 representing 4% of all goods and services sold within the region. The dynamic between Denver’s creative economy and escalating housing costs in the region is also addressed in the report. Despite challenging housing costs, growth in creative occupations still occurred. Creative occupation employment grew 16% between 2010 to 2015 when average rent growth sharply escalated and peaked in the Denver metropolitan region and 10% between 2015 and 2019 when average rent was hovering at or just below its peak rate and real estate valuations substantially escalated.

The initial effects also addressed in the report of the COVID-19 crisis are substantial. The report estimates that between April 1 and July 31, 2020, Denver’s creative industries will lose an estimated 29,840 jobs and $1.4 billion in sales revenue due to the COVID-19 crisis.

The report states that regional professional groups, philanthropic organizations, municipal governments and arts agencies should coordinate efforts swiftly to address the challenges facing the Denver metropolitan region’s creative economy. Advocating for direct funding in addition to developing a program employing creative workers to focus on collaborative projects across industries is suggested. In closing, the report notes that, “The Denver metropolitan region’s creative economy was healthy and growing before the challenges posed by the COVID-19 crisis and it is positioned for continued growth and resilience.”

Read the full report here.


Denver Arts & Venues: Lisa Gedgaudas 720-865-5560; lisa.gedgaudas@denvergov.org
Colorado State University: Dr. Michael Seman 940-453-6553; michael.seman@colostate.edu