Museums Have Significant Impact on State, National Economy, Report Concludes

Museums in Connecticut had a one-year total financial impact on Connecticut’s economy of $834 million, providing $556 million in income via wages and other income to state residents, generating $223.5 million in taxes (including $77.5 million in state and local taxes), and supporting just over 10,200 jobs – including 5,400 direct jobs, 1,877 indirect jobs and nearly 3,000 induced jobs. The data was compiled as part of a national report, Museums as Economic Engines, compiled the Alliance of American Museums. The report indicates that nationwide, museums support 726,000 jobs in the United States, and directly employ 372,100 people, more than double that of the professional sports industry, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Alliance points out.

The study, conducted by Oxford Economics with the support of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, shows that for every $100 of economic activity created by museums, an additional $220 is created in other sectors of the US economy as a result of supply chain and employee expenditure impacts, according to the report.  The data analyzed was from calendar year 2016, the most recent full year of data available.

These impacts mean that museums contribute approximately $50 billion to the US economy each year, a number that’s more than twice previous estimates, according to the Alliance.  The report is also the first to show that US museums generate more than $12 billion per year in tax revenue to federal, state, and local governments.

The report estimated that there are 372,100 museum workers employed in the US along with 3 million volunteers.  It also indicated that 89 percent of Americans believe that museums provide important economic impacts back to their communities, according to a public opinion survey conducted in 2017.

Nationally, the museum field’s largest economic impact is on the leisure and hospitality industry (approximately $17 billion), but it also generates approximately $12 billion in the financial activities sector and approximately $3 billion each in the education/health services and manufacturing sectors.

The top 10 states driving this impact are geographically diverse and account for 57 percent of the gross value added to the national economy. States with the highest economic impact from the museum sector included California ($6.6 billion), New York ($5.4 billion), and Texas ($3.9 billion). However, those that rely most heavily on museums due to their relatively higher concentration, the report indicated, include the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Wyoming, and Alaska.

In breaking down the jobs impact of museums, direct impact refers to direct employment and spending by the industry’s business operations; indirect impact includes supply-chain effects, stemming from industry’s operations (e.g. legal services, utilities, etc.) and induced impact describes the impact resulting from employees spending their incomes in the economy.

The American Alliance of Museums (AAM), founded in 1906, now represents more than 35,000 professionals and volunteers, institutions, and corporate partners in the sector.