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RALEIGH, N.C. – North Carolina’s economy receives an annual boost of more than $41 billion from its “Creative Industry” that provides more than 290,000 jobs, according to a

The cultural sector makes up some 5.5 percent of the state’s workforce and generates 5.3 percent of the state’s gross domestic product, the report titled "Creativity Means Business: Economic Contributions of North Carolina’s Creative Industry" concludes.

The Creative Industry covers more than 50,000 businesses and entities with employees. Worker ranks include artists and entrepreneurs across more than 100 categories ranging from media to crafts, software engineers to movie makers.

The North Carolina Department of Commerce’s Policy, Research and Strategic Planning Division prepared the report that was commissioned by the N.C. Arts Council in 2007.

Linda Carlisle, secretary of the state’s Department of Cultural Resources, announced the study’s findings on Tuesday in Charlotte.

The state’s historic preservation sector generates more than $1 billion a year while the entertainment creation sector produced nearly $4 billion in 2006.

The report also found:

• 164,325 direct jobs

• 129,150 jobs sustained by links to the cultural sector

• Payroll represented 4.9 percent of statewide employee compensation

“Our creative industry is robust, and this important study underscores its role in North Carolina’s future,” said Carlisle in a statement. “Creativity in the workforce stimulates new products and services, and helps make North Carolina the most competitive it can be in the global economy.”

Conclusions from the report include:

• “The presence of creative professionals in a given county is the single most important factor associated with the amount that visitors will spend.

• “The presence of creative workers is also strongly associated with rising household incomes.

• “Counties with higher proportions of workers in arts-related occupations are more likely to retain current residents and attract new ones.

• “The creative workforce provides a competitive edge to North Carolina products and services.

• “Creative workers are found not only in cultural industries but also contribute to the success of other businesses.

• “The people and companies who produce creative products and use creativity in their work include micro-enterprises, freelancers, and entrepreneurs, so the reported jobs are vastly underestimated.”