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Top Paying States for Artists and Designers


Artists and Illustrators

                                                Hourly           Annual
                                                  Wage            Wage             (Mean Salary 2009)

1. Delaware             $74.79       $155,600     (last year’s rank: n/a)  
2. California            $30.69       $63,800       (last year’s rank: 1)    
3. Michigan             $29.61       $61,600       (last year’s rank: 2)    
4. New Jersey          $28.06       $58,400       (last year’s rank: n/a)  
5. New Mexico         $26.65       $55,400      (last year’s rank: n/a)  
6. New York             $24.45       $50,900      (last year’s rank: n/a)  
7. Connecticut         $23.40       $48,700      (last year’s rank: 5)    
8. Washington         $23.36       $48,600      (last year’s rank: n/a)  
9. Ohio                    $22.93      $47,700       (last year’s rank: n/a)  
10. Texas                 $21.84       $45,400       (last year’s rank: n/a)  

Worst: South Carolina $10.48       $21,800

Dropped Out of Top Ten: Colorado (last year’s rank: 10, this year: 25), Oregon (last year’s rank: 9, this year: 14), Arizona (last year’s rank: 8, this year: 24), Oklahoma (last year’s rank: 7, this year: 17), Missouri (last year’s rank: 4, this year: 11), Indiana (last year’s rank: 3, this year: 19)

Wages & Employment Trends:
National Median wages (2009): $21.23 hourly, $44,160 annual
Employment (2008): 24,000 total U.S. employees
Projected growth (2008-2018): Average (7% to 13%)

Job Outlook
Artists and illustrators will see average job growth over the next few years even as demand for their work from media and tech companies is expected to grow. Like photographers, most artists and illustrators are self-employed and must learn to use the latest web tools to market and sell their work. Experience with web tools is especially relevant to artists used to receiving major commissions from galleries and grants from sponsors – the budgets for both providers will stay at low levels, meaning they’ll have to be resourceful to find viable jobs. And since demand for artists and illustrators is based on disposable income, artists’ income levels will fluctuate with the economy.

Top paying industries for this occupation are Scientific Research and Development Services (38.48 hourly mean, $80, 040 annual mean), Motion Picture and Video Industries ($38.00 hourly mean, $79, 040 annual mean), Architectural, Engineering, and Related Services ($33.85 hourly mean, $70, 410 annual mean), Software Publishers ($31.53 hourly mean, $65,570 annual mean), and the Federal Executive Branch (OES Designation with $30.61 hourly mean, $63,600 annual mean) (Updated October 4, 2010)

Top paying metropolitan areas for this occupation are: Wilmington, DE-MD-NJ Metropolitan Division ($66.23 hourly mean, $137,750 annual mean); Detroit-Livonia-Dearborn, MI Metropolitan Division ($42.04 hourly mean, $87,440 annual mean); San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA ($38.73 hourly mean, $80,560 annual mean); San Francisco-San Mateo-Redwood City, CA Metropolitan Division ($36.82 hourly mean, $76,590 annual mean); Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale, CA Metropolitan Division ($35.00 hourly mean, $72,810 annual mean)

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