During Strikes, 17% of LA Entertainment Workers Lost Jobs, Study Finds

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It’s hard to measure the full impact of the Hollywood strikes — mainly because the TV and film industry will be facing the ripple effects for years to come — but a new study has revealed one significant immediate hit: 17% of Los Angeles-based showbiz workers lost their jobs during the work stoppages.

According to the Otis College of Art and Design’s study, the first released under the college’s ongoing Otis College Report on the Creative Economy, following the WGA (which ran May 2-Sept. 27) and SAG-AFTRA strikes (July 14-Nov. 9), 24,799 entertainment industry employees in Los Angeles were let go, or more than 1.5 in every 10 workers.

While actors and writers were the workers that saw the “most rapid declines” during the April-October period period measured, other heavily affected roles included camera operators and editors, and “other media occupations,” which the study classifies as “a group that includes broadcast, sound and lighting technicians.”

The study notes that the writers and actors strikes of 2023 should be “understood as part of a longer-term decline in Hollywood employment,” including the decline of Peak TV, and states that film and TV industry’s employment has shrunk by 26% since the post-pandemic high point in August 2022. The strikes are framed by the study as a factor that “accelerated an industry contraction already underway.”

According to the report, additional challenges facing Hollywood that were exacerbated by the strikes include: oversupply, a weaker investment environment, technological disruption and foreign competition.

Per Otis College, for the study, the Westwood Economics and Planning Associates analyzed strike-period data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and California Employment Development Department (EDD), in addition to reviewing 11,186 job listings in entertainment (film and television) over 15 months, ending on Oct. 31, and interviewing industry officials, including above-the-line and below-the-line talent, producers, talent agents and policymakers.

The full study, the first of two from Otis College of Art and Design to focus on the entertainment industry, with the second to be released in early 2024, can be found here.

“The entertainment industry is a key economic driver for California, with impact felt across the world,” Otis College president Charles Hirschhorn said. “Analyzing the health of that industry is important for both our state and our students at Otis College of Art and Design, a diverse community of artists and designers planning careers across creative sectors. We’ve developed the Otis College Report on the Creative Economy as an essential resource to give our creative students and citizens the information they need to best plan for their futures.”

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