Hollywoodis a “cornerstone in America’s creative economy”, according to Dan Glickman, chairmanand chief executive of the Motion Picture Association of America.

Glickman made the comments as he issued a new report, The Economic Impact Of The Motion Picture & Television Industry On The United States, at the Business Of Show Business symposium in Washington DC today (April 21).

The research shows that in 2007, the industry employed 2.5m Americans and created a $13.6bn trade surplus. The report is based on interviews with US majors, networks, state and local film commissions, and numerous Governors and Mayors. It does not include 2008 figures for employment and salary levels so does not account for the impact of the global recession.

Other findings are:

  • In 2008, the film and television industry impacted upon more than 115,000 small businesses in all 50 states, 81% of which employ fewer than ten people.
  • Of the 2.5million jobs created, more than 285,000 people were employed in core business of producing, marketing, manufacturing and distributing film and television, and more than 478,000 were employed in related businesses that distribute the product such as exhibition, video rental, cable broadcasters and sites like Hulu.com.
  • A further 1.7m jobs were created at service industries connected with film and television such as retailers, restaurants, car rental films, lumber suppliers and florists.
  • In 2007, production employees earned an average salary of $74,700, nearly 76% higher than the average salary nationwide. The differential dropped to a 26% gain when the salaries of people who interact with customers were considered, although the report did not post an adjusted average salary amount taking this into consideration.
  • The industry paid $41.1bn in wages to workers in 2007 and $13bn was raised through income and sales taxes.
  • The $13.6bn trade surplus amounts to 10% of the total US private sector trade surplus in services. The report noted that the film and television surplus was larger than the combined surplus of the telecommunications, management and consulting, legal, and medical services sectors, and larger than sectors like computer and information services and insurance services.

Outside of the “bellwether” states of California and New York, the top ten production states based on the amount of productions industry-wide, production employees and wages, and the total number of vendors and vendor payments made by MPAA studios during 2007, were: Illinois, Texas, Florida, Georgia, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, North Carolina, Louisiana, Tennessee, and Massachusetts.

In 2007, 529 film and TV productions shot in California, dropping to 480 in 2008. Approximately $16.3bn was paid out in wages in state in 2007, compared to $7.4bn in New York, where productions fell from 271 to 351 between 2007 and 2008. By contrast Illinois, which hosted the shoot of The Dark Knight, paid $1.1bn in wages related to the industry and the number of productions fell from 72 to 38 over the two years.

The report also listed the numerous infrastructure and facilities projects that have either just opened or will do so in the near future, among them:

  • the 200,000 square foot Tyler Perry Studios in Atlanta that opened last October
  • the 11,000, $45m Celtic Media Centre being constructed in Baton Rouge, Louisiana
  • Spiderwood Studios currently under construction in Bastrop, Texas
  • Nu Image/Millennium Films’Millennium-Ledbetter Film Studio in Shreveport, Louisiana

The reported also noted that tourism has been quick to realise the benefits that accrue from local shoots. A study published in the Journal of Travel Research found that a location featured in a successful film can see an increase of up to 75% in tourism the year after the film is released.