New York Production Industry Jobs Rose in 2010

Arthur Waiting Room Film Still 2011
Warner Bros.

RUSSELL BRAND as Arthur and HELEN MIRREN as Hobson in Warner Bros. Pictures’ romantic comedy “ARTHUR,” a Warner Bros. Pictures release.

Data shows a new high last year for all data since 2004, with the MPAA citing the benefit of the state's incentives program, which has attracted such film productions as "Arthur" and TV shows, such as "Pan Am."

NEW YORK - The film and TV production industry is responsible for more than 141,021 jobs in New York State, up from 124,807 in 2009 and 127,208 in 2008, the MPAA said Wednesday.

The figures include direct production-related jobs and indirect jobs in businesses working with the industry and show a record for the annual data shared since 2004.

The MPAA cited the New York state production incentive, a 30 percent refundable tax credit applied against qualified expenditures, as a key reason for the jobs improvement.

Citing data based on figures recently released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics for the year 2010, the organization said that the numbers of core production, as well as indirect jobs both rose over 2009.

Direct industry jobs were up to 43,000 in 2010, an increase of 22 percent over 2009, compared with no change across all industries in New York State, and 20 percent over the 2008 figure, the 2010 jobs report of the New York State Comptroller shows. A production slowdown in 2009 reflecting uncertainty about the incentive program meant a decline in that year from 35,920 to 35,233, the MPAA said.

Including production-related jobs, the number of direct jobs reached 48,690 in 2010, up 13 percent  over 2009. 

Other data also shows the success of the New York production incentive. In 2010, the New York Film Incentive program received 91 applications - 71 for films, six for TV pilots and 14 for TV series. 

In 2011, the program saw a 66 percent boost, with 137 applications to date, including 91 motion pictures, 20 TV pilots and 26 series, according to the Governor’s Office of Motion Picture and Television Development.

So far in 2011, films shot in New York include The Bourne Legacy, Broken City, Men in Black III and New Year’s Eve. TV series include Blue Bloods, Boardwalk Empire, Damages, Person of Interest, Glee, Gossip Girl and Pan Am

The film Arthur, which shot in New York for 48 days in 2010, spent more than $26 million with local vendors and made more than 4,300 local hires, including 1,043 crew members, the MPAA said in citing an example of the film industry's impact.

Mike Jackman, co-chair of the New York Production Alliance, said: “The new job figures released by BLS confirm what all of us working in and around this industry know to be true, that film and television production continues to be a catalyst for New York's economic recovery. It is of no surprise the only dip in job growth came during 2009, a year funding for the New York State incentive briefly ran dry."

Said labor leader John Ford, president of IA local 52: “The robustness of production in New York means that there is more opportunity and competition for professional studio mechanics, artists and crafts people.”

Richard Masur, chair of the Screen Actors Guild national legislative committee and former Guild president, said: “Film tax credits create jobs, stimulate local economies, and keep film productions in-state."

Vans Stevenson, senior vp of State Government Affairs at the MPAA, said: “Competition among states and Canada is fierce for these jobs because they are the kinds of work people want - with benefits and an average salary of $79,000 a year - and that’s why a state like New York focuses on growing this sector of their economy.”

Stevenson also challenged recent claims that the production tax credit was hurting funding for public schools, particularly in New York City. In 2009 the motion picture and television production companies spent $5.1 for every $1.00 invested by the state in the program, according to the report on the Empire State Film Production Credit issued in Aug. 2010 by the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance and the New York State Governor’s Office of Motion Picture and Television Development.

Nationwide, the film and TV industry supports more than 2.2 million jobs and generates about $13 billion in taxes and $40 billion in payments to vendors, suppliers and other businesses. 


Twitter: @georgszalai