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Government's 1st measure of creative economy finds arts, culture add $500 billion to GDP

The government's first official measure of the impact of arts and culture on the economy has found the creative industries account for more than $500 billion, or at least 3.2 percent of U.S. goods and services.

On Thursday, the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis and the National Endowment for the Arts will release the first estimates of the creative sector's contributions to U.S. gross domestic product. GDP measures the nation's production of goods and services. The latest numbers are from 2011.

Researchers found the leading contributors were Hollywood movies, the advertising industry and cable TV production, followed by broadcasting, publishing and performing arts. The total output for arts and cultural commodities was $916 billion.

Researchers also analyzed the creative sector's employment, exports and the impact of the recession.