National culture indicators, first quarter 2021
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Real gross domestic product (GDP) for the culture and sport sectors in Canada increased 1.3% to $13.1 billion in the first quarter of 2021, compared with 1.4% for the total economy, marking three consecutive quarters of growth. On a nominal basis, GDP for culture and sport sectors increased 1.3% to $14.6 billion. Total number of jobs supporting these sectors contracted 0.6% to just over 675,600.
The National Culture Indicators are an extension of the Provincial and Territorial Culture Satellite Account and the Provincial and Territorial Culture Indicators. They provide Canadians with timely data on GDP, output and jobs for culture and sport in Canada.
This release marks the first time real GDP (corrected for prices changes) for the culture and sport sectors has been published. These estimates are better suited for examining economic growth within culture and sport, as well as comparisons with other sectors. However, for the remainder of this release, GDP will be presented in nominal terms, to provide comparability and consistency with other Culture Satellite Account releases.
Culture GDP increased 0.6% (or $73.3 million) to $13.3 billion, driven by increases in the domains of visual and applied arts, and governance, funding and professional support. Partially offsetting those increases were notable declines in the domains of written and published works, and audio visual and interactive media.
Sports GDP increased 9.2% (or +$111.1 million) to $1.3 billion, with most of the increase observed in the organized sport subdomain, where a three-month delay in the start of the NHL season caused a significant decline in the fourth quarter of 2020, followed by a rebound in the first quarter 2021.
The impact of COVID-19 on culture and sport GDP in Canada
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on financial and labor markets across Canada. Border closures and public health restrictions have significantly impacted the financial health of Canada's economy. Culture and sport were no exception.
Culture and Sport GDP is the economic value added associated with culture and sport activities. Culture and sport sectors faced unprecedented business disruptions, with the largest drop in quarterly GDP (-16.4%) occurring in the second quarter of 2020; this is the largest drop since the start of the series with all domains being impacted. However, live performance is the domain that has been the most impacted, its GDP having dropped by nearly two-thirds (-61.4%) during the same period. According to data from the Canadian Survey on Business Conditions, more than three-quarters of businesses in arts, entertainment and recreation (78.3%) reported a significant decline in revenue in 2020 compared with a year earlier.
There have been signs of recovery, as the GDP for culture and sport sectors began increasing in the second half of 2020, with some domains approaching pre-pandemic levels (using the fourth quarter of 2019 as a pre-pandemic baseline). Sound recording was the sole domain to post quarterly GDP growth to levels higher than before the pandemic. Audio visual and interactive media, governance, funding and professional support, and education, have yet to reach their pre-pandemic figures, but the gap is closing. Live performance, written and published works, and sport, are still significantly below fourth quarter 2019 levels.
The impact of COVID-19 on employment in Canada's culture and sport sectors
Since the start of the pandemic, significant job losses were felt in the culture and sport sectors, with total employment dropping by more than one-tenth (-13.2%). The largest drop (-20.3%) occurred in the second quarter of 2020, as a number of employees were laid-off or furloughed. Employment associated with live performances was the most impacted domain, as concerts, events and festivals were reduced or cancelled during 2020.
During the first quarter of 2021, culture jobs increased 0.1% to 603,482 with employment up for four of the nine culture domains. Employment gains were seen in live performance (+2.9% or 1,098), followed by sound recording (+1.5% or 119), visual and applied arts (+1.2% or 1,654) and governance, funding and professional sports (1.0% or 815).
Sport jobs decreased 6.7% to 72,150, led primarily by decreases in the organized sport sub-domain, as pro-sporting events had occurred but to empty arenas without live spectators.
Note to readers
The National Culture Indicators are an extension of the Provincial and Territorial Culture Satellite Account and the Provincial and Territorial Culture Indicators.
Data are available for Gross domestic product (GDP) in both nominal, basic prices and constant prices (2012 prices). Unless otherwise stated, GDP in this release refers to nominal GDP, at basic prices.
Growth rates in this release are represented as the percentage change in the series from one quarter to the next.
Starting in the first quarter 2021, quarterly data are available back to the first quarter 2012.
Data have been seasonally adjusted. All data are based on the product perspective.
Culture GDP is the economic value added associated with culture activities. This is the value added related to the production of culture goods and services across the economy, regardless of the producing industry.
Culture jobs are the number of jobs that are related to the production of culture goods and services.
Sport GDP is the economic value added associated with sport activities. This is the value added related to the production of sport goods and services across the economy, regardless of the producing industry.
Sport jobs are the number of jobs that are related to the production of sport goods and services.
With the release of the first quarter 2021, data from the first quarter 2016 to the fourth quarter 2020 have been revised. These data incorporate new and revised data, as well as incorporated changes from the latest Provincial and Territorial Culture Indicators. Given the unprecedented economic situation in 2020, revisions for this period are expected to be higher than normal.
The Economic accounts statistics portal, accessible from the Subjects module of our website, features an up-to-date portrait of national and provincial economies and their structure.
The Latest Developments in the Canadian Economic Accounts (13-605-X) is available.
The User Guide: Canadian System of Macroeconomic Accounts (13-606-G) is available.
The Methodological Guide: Canadian System of Macroeconomic Accounts (13-607-X) is available.
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