2016 Creative State MI

Creative Industries Report

1_Michigan Creative copy

Michigan’s creative industries are a powerful force across our state contributing to the vibrancy of our communities, growth and prosperity of our economy, and the education of Michigan’s youth as the leaders and innovators for our future.

This 2016 Creative State Michigan Creative Industries Report deepens our understanding of the critical role of the creative industries in Michigan’s economy and the vitality of its communities, and the opportunities and challenges facing these industries today and for the future. This report is an update and expansion of Creative Many’s 2014 Creative State Michigan research on the creative industries. It is a comprehensive investigation and analysis of employment, wages and establishments data pertaining to the following 12 creative industries over the period of 2011 to 2014: Advertising; Architecture; Art Schools, Artists and Agents; Creative Technology; Culture and Heritage; Design; Fashion, Garment and Textile; Film, AV and Broadcasting; Literary, Publishing and Print; Music; Performing Arts; and Visual Arts and Craft. It also includes regional profiles of Detroit, Grand Rapids, Ann Arbor and Flint.

The intended audience for this research includes creative and cultural workers; creative industries professionals; policymakers; funders and investors; community and economic developers; and other researchers.

Research Questions
  1. Are the creative industries in Michigan thriving and innovative?
  2. How are Michigan’s creative industries and occupations distributed and supported?
  3. How do creative industry stakeholders envision their future?
  4. What external pressures will impact the future of the creative economy?

Key Findings in this Report

At a Glance:

2014: Creative Industries in Michigan
Total Employment


(Change from 2011-2014)

Total employment in Michigan, creative industries in 2014

Total Wages

$4.97 B

(Change from 2011-2014)

Total employment in Michigan, creative industries in 2014

Total Establishments


(Change from 2011-2014)

Total employment in Michigan, creative industries in 2014

2014: All Industries in Michigan


(Change from 2011-2014)

Total employment in Michigan, creative industries in 2014

$198.31 B

(Change from 2011-2014)

Total employment in Michigan, creative industries in 2014


(Change from 2011-2014)

Total employment in Michigan, creative industries in 2014

Overview of Michigan

In 2014, Michigan’s creative industries employed 88,761 people in 10,706 establishments and their wages totaled $4,970,713,432. Employment in creative industries has grown 1.49% between 2011 and 2014.

Creative Industries as Percentage of Total Industries


Michigan creative industries employment as percentage of MI total employemnt

Compared to U.S. creative industries employment as percentage of U.S. total employment (2.96%)



Michigan creative industries wages as percetage of Michigan wages

Compared to U.S. creative industries wages a percentage of U.S. total wages (4.28%)



Michigan creative industries establishments as percentage of MI total establishments

Compared to U.S. creative industries establishments as percentage of U.S. total establishments (5.00%)

Creative industry employment as a percentage of all employment has declined to 2.17% (from 2.27% in 2011). Design now represents the largest creative industry sector in the state in terms of employees and wages. Although there has been some decrease since 2011, the Film, Audiovisual and Broadcasting cluster employs the third largest group of workers. Literary, Publishing and Print has shown the greatest decline in employment with 2,923 fewer employees and a 15.8% decline. Although wage increases in creative industries in the state have been lower than in all Michigan industries by percentage, average per person income has grown to $56,001.10 compared to $48,486.62 for all industries. There was a slight decline in creative industry wages as a percentage of overall wages in the state. The number of establishments has declined or only slightly increased in most industries studied. Literary, Publishing and Print had the largest total reduction with 122 fewer establishments in 2014 than 2011, a 6.8% decline. Only one cluster showed a large increase in the time period. Creative Technology counted a 23.7% increase. The Visual Arts and Craft sector contributed the largest number of establishments in 2014.

Michigan’s Largest Creative Industries
Employment: Design


Design employment as percentage of total MI creative industries

Followed by Literary, Publishing and Print (17.57%)

Wages: Design


Design wages as percentage of total MI creative industries

Followed by Film, AV and Broadcasting (19.2%)

Establishments: Visual Arts and Craft


Visual Arts and Craft establishments as percentage of total MI creative industries

Followed by Design (17%)

Creative Industries Employment in Michigan
Distribution in 2014
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Creative Industries Wages in Michigan
Distribution in 2014
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Creative Industries Establishments in Michigan
Distribution in 2014
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Select a region


Detroit has the most evenly distributed creative industries in terms of employment. Industry clusters with the highest levels of employment and wages include Film, Audiovisual and Broadcasting; Literary, Publishing and Print; Design; and Advertising. The largest number of establishments is in Visual Arts and Craft.

Download the Detroit report

Detroit*: Creative Industries Distribution in 2014
*Macomb, Oakland and Wayne Counties
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Detroit* MSA: Creative Employment Breakdown
*Detroit-Warren-Dearborn MSA
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Anticipating the Future

Five Contextual Challenge Shifts were identified through detailed analysis of a broad horizon scan to assess uncertainties of the changing external landscape related to creative industries.

  • The Nature of Work is Changing. Stable, full-time employment is no longer the only viable model for work.
  • Automation and Digitization. Digital information and computational power have led to automation in many work spheres, including “white collar” domains.
  • Seeking Meaningful Work. Many workers, especially younger ones, believe that a company’s mission is as important as its fiscal mandate.
  • Diversity and Inclusion. These key drivers of innovation and prosperity also support thriving creative economies
  • Transferable Competencies. Future-ready work skills such as sensemaking, experimentation, and adaptive thinking mirror many of the inherent competencies of those in the creative occupations.


Based on the analysis and interpretive assessment of these inputs, this report aims to establish the value and significance of the creative economy of Michigan both now and into the future. The following key recommendations are intended to bolster Creative Many’s mission to develop creative people, creative places and the creative economy for a competitive Michigan.

Acknowledge the foundational importance of art, culture, design and creativity in creating the preconditions for prosperity, resilience and social cohesion in Michigan.

  • Continue to measure the size and distribution of creative industries and occupations.
  • Convene and moderate cross-disciplinary discussions with industry and community leaders.
  • Using the above input, define a creative economy agenda for Michigan, with strategies to actively engage Michigan’s creative industries.
  • Collect, curate and disseminate case studies to clarify benefits to decision makers.
  • Share creative industries research and recommendations with community and economic development leaders in Michigan.

Build a healthy and vibrant art, culture, design and creative ecosystem throughout Michigan.

  • Advocate for access to high quality, consistent, sequential and standards-based education in and through art, design, culture and creativity in pre-K to 12, and in partnership with Michigan’s arts institutions.
  • Advocate for creativity as a fundamental competency in undergraduate education and establish pathways to creative occupations.
  • Support mid-sized and small organizations through policy and incentives to balance the creative ecosystem.
  • Advocate for broad, equitable access to creative technology.
  • Help to articulate the balanced roles of commerce and creative practice.
  • Establish diversified strategies that re-position Michigan’s film and digital media industries for competitive advantage in Michigan and the U.S.

Deploy art, culture, design and creativity in re-imagining the future of Michigan.

  • Encourage creative placemaking and placekeeping as means to build communities, to attract and retain talent, and to promote tourism.
  • Encourage the engagement of artists and designers in community planning and civic engagement to bring communities together to resolve challenges and imagine new futures.
  • Envision new models of diversity and inclusion by engaging the creative sector.
  • Use Michigan’s authentic competencies in design to create competitive advantage.
  • Use creative storytelling techniques to frame new narratives about the nature of work, the opportunities for creative industries, and Michigan’s place in a changing world.


Research was conducted using quantitative and qualitative methods. Employment data for the creative industries was compiled by Data Driven Detroit and accessed from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and the U.S. Census Bureau. Data was drawn from the Quarterly Census and Wage, Occupational Employment Statistics and Nonemployer Statistics programs. Placing the quantitative research findings in context and providing a more nuanced perspective of Michigan’s creative industries, qualitative research was also undertaken. This took the form of broad engagement and foresight exploration, including Michigan thought-leader interviews, regional workshops and the statewide Creative Economy Policy Summit in fall 2015. Analysis and reporting of the employment and wage data, as well as qualitative research and writing, were conducted by KerrSmith Design.

Make This Report Work for You

Over the years the Creative State MI reports have been a valuable resource to help make the case for the arts, culture, arts education and the creative and design industries. Put this report to work for you by sharing it with community leaders, lawmakers, and decision makers. Let them know that Michigan’s arts, culture and creative and design industries are critically important to our state’s economy, the vitality of our communities, the education of our children, and the lives of people statewide.

Download the full report

Thank you

The Creative State MI 2016 Creative Industries Report is made possible this year through the leadership and generous support of:

U.S. Economic Development Administration
The Kresge Foundation
Masco Corporation Foundation
Michigan Economic Development Corporation
Charles Stewart Mott Foundation
Detroit Creative Corridor Foundation
Ford Foundation
Prima Civitas

Contact Creative Many

Hard copies of the report are available and can be ordered for a nominal fee to cover printing and mailing costs. Request for the report and for more information please contact Creative Many at info@creativemany.org or 313-483-5705 ext. 1#.