New creative study highlights the sector’s workforce, workspace needs and role in local economy

The new 2018 Minneapolis Creative Index report findings detail the creative sector’s workforce and workspace needs and the significant role it plays in the larger knowledge economy.

Scale of the creative economy

The city and region show an overall healthy, nationally competitive creative sector with strong economic activity. The report found that in Minneapolis, creative jobs outpaced job growth in other industries with a robust 14.4 percent growth between 2006 and 2016. Revenues from for-profit creative sales alone reached $5 billion, outpacing sports sector revenues by more than nine times and making up 6 percent of all sales in Minneapolis.


Overall, the metro region sustains 81,000 creative workers with 22,000 working in Minneapolis. Seventy-five percent of all creative jobs in Minnesota are in the metro, making it the state’s epicenter for creative sector employment. The “CVI score” for Minneapolis is four times the national average with the metro area ranking eighth nationally.

The 2018 report delved deeper than previous reports into employment demographics in Minneapolis and the region.

  • Workforce findings show some job gains for Asian and Hispanic/Latino workers but significant underrepresentation of people of color in higher income occupations. Even with employment gains, workforce disparities persist in creative sector employment with people of color representing 13 percent of the creative workforce in the metro versus 30 percent nationally.
  • Women in creative employment show better in the metro than nationally: 49 percent in the metro versus 48 percent nationally, yet according to a recent Pew Research Center study women in the creative sector earn 82 percent of what male colleagues earn.
  • Half of the metro area creative workers make median incomes of $14.07-$27.91 per hour – at or just above the minimum wage. A high concentration of people of color work in the five lower-income occupations, and very low concentrations work in the higher-income creative occupations.

Workspace needs

New this year, the Minneapolis Creative Index report added a mapping study to better understand where and in what types of buildings artists, creative businesses and entrepreneurs do their work. Findings reveal how nonprofit and for-profit interdependencies in the sector limit the growth and sustainability of adequate workspace.

The mapping study showed that creative entrepreneurs, businesses and organizations are located throughout the city with no concentrations in types of land uses or types of creative work. Creatives are adding to the adaptability of neighborhoods working in all kinds of building types and ages and primarily in commercial (40 percent) and residential (39 percent) areas of the city, disproving the popular notion that creatives occupy predominantly recycled industrial spaces (13 percent). Building owners in the creative sector have difficulty in defining occupancy and use to obtain capital from traditional lending sources; this creates difficulties for the supply and sustainability of creative spaces.

The Creative Index report

The Minneapolis Creative Index report is an economic study performed every other year to examine the impact of Minneapolis’ arts and cultural sector and reliably track economic and demographic data using nationally available, reliable data sources. This data includes the Creative Index Suite, which contains the most recent statistical data on the city’s and region’s creative economy jobs and revenues, and creative for-profit and nonprofit organizations. The Minneapolis Creative Index report goes further than statistics by also investigating important issues on the city’s creative economy through focus group discussions, case studies and interviews.

Find the complete report online.


March 1, 2019

Published Mar 1, 2019



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