Artists work on a street mural in Makati City, Feb. 18, 2024. — PHILIPPINE STAR/EDD GUMBAN

THE VALUE of the Philippines’ creative industry reached P1.72 trillion in 2023, despite slowing growth, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reported on Thursday.

Preliminary data from the statistics agency showed that the gross value added (GVA) of the country’s creative industry-related activities expanded by 6.9% to P1.72 trillion last year from P1.61 trillion in 2022.

However, the growth was much slower than 12.2% in 2022. It was also the weakest growth since the 9% contraction in 2020 at the height of the coronavirus pandemic.

Creative economy’s share in GDP falls further in 2023

The creative sector’s contribution to Philippine gross domestic product (GDP) stood at 7.1% in 2023, slipping from 7.3% a year earlier.

The creative economy is composed of industries such as film, digital services, research and development, media publishing, music, arts, entertainment, advertising, art galleries, museums and trade shows,” according to the PSA.

Among these creative industries, symbols and images and other related activities had the largest share at 31.5% or P541.75 billion of the sector’s total gross value added in 2023.

Advertising, research and development accounted for 21.9% or P376.44 billion. This was followed by digital interactive goods and services, which contributed 21.1% or P362.98 billion.

Media publishing and printing made up 11% or P188.56 billion of the industry’s total gross value added.

In 2023, there were 7.26 million Filipinos employed in the creative industries, up by 4% from 6.98 million in 2022. However, job growth was slower than 10.2% in 2022.

Traditional cultural expression activities employed 2.58 million Filipinos, accounting for 35.5% of the creative sector’s total jobs.

Symbols and images and other related activities employed 2.2 million Filipinos, making up 30.3% of the industry. Other artistic service activities employed 1.29 million, accounting for 17.8%.

University of Asia and the Pacific Senior Economist Cid L. Terosa said the high inflation environment last year may have crimped the creative sector’s growth.

“Given inflationary conditions last year that slashed household income and shoved prices upwards, it is not surprising that the creative industry’s share in GDP and output growth tumbled,” he said in an e-mail.

Inflation in 2023 averaged 6%, faster than the 5.8% in 2022. It was the fastest since the 8.2% average in 2008 during the global financial crisis.

“Demand contraction due to inflationary conditions plus rising cost of producing its products/services pulled back output growth and consequently, the share of the industry in GDP,” Mr. Terosa said. — Mariedel Irish U. Catilogo