A September report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics found that there were 45,000 fewer jobs in the motion picture and sound recording industries, a decrease related to Hollywood labor disputes.
The report notes that the drop happened since May. The film and TV sector also lost 7,000 jobs just in September.
This report is one of the first glimpses into the full economic impact the WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes had on the entertainment industry. The May timing coincides with the start of the WGA strike, which went into effect on May 2. It was then followed by the SAG-AFTRA strike on July 14.
Thought the WGA reached a tentative agreement with the AMPTP and voted to end their strike last Wednesday, the SAG-AFTRA strike is still in effect. The guild and the producers are currently in negotiations and are set to resume talks Monday.
One economist estimated that the California economy lost $3 billion in the first 100 days of striking. The WGA strike would go on to last 148 days. Similarly, during earnings season TheWrap identified $5 billion in delayed or reduced spending on the studios’ side that was credited to the strikes. But this report is one of the first concrete dives into the cost of the strikes.
As SAG-AFTRA resumes talks on Monday, several major issues are on the table for striking actors. Chief among them is the word that’s become synonymous with the modern state of the industry: residuals. Much like the writers, the age of streaming drastically altered this once reliable moneymaker, all but eliminating a way for average working actors to make a livable wage.
The guild is also fighting for better working conditions, for an altered audition process and against the threat of AI. Ever since the COVID-19 pandemic, time-consuming self-filmed auditions became the norm, requiring actors to find a place to record while acting as their own directors and cameramen. As for AI, actors are fighting to preserve their likeness and to stop studios from using their image without compensating the actor in question.