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Top Paying States for Artists and Designers


Fashion Designers

                                             Hourly           Annual
                                               Wage             Wage             (Mean Salary 2009)
1. New Hampshire    $38.58    $80,200    (last year’s rank: 3)   
2. Maine                   $38.53    $80,100    (last year’s rank: 2)  
3. New York              $33.68    $70,100    (last year’s rank: 1)  
4. Tennessee            $33.50    $69,700    (last year’s rank: n/a)
5. California             $33.40    $69,500    (last year’s rank: n/a)
6. Wisconsin             $32.33    $67,200    (last year’s rank: 7)   
7. Connecticut          $30.58    $63,600    (last year’s rank: 4)  
8. Kansas                 $30.57    $63,600    (last year’s rank: 10) 
9. Washington          $30.13    $62,700    (last year’s rank: 8)   
10. New Jersey           $29.52    $61,400    (last year’s rank: 9)   

Worst: Over 20 states did not have wage data for this industry occupation, such as Alaska. (See link)

Dropped Out of Top Ten: Colorado (last year’s rank: 5, this year: 11), Nevada (last year’s rank: 6, this year: 28)

Wages & Employment Trends:
National Median wages (2009): $30.90 hourly, $64,260 annual
Employment (2008): 23,000 total U.S. employees
Projected growth (2008-2018): Even (-2% to 2%)

Job Outlook and Key Points

The recession hurt the main industries that drive demand of goods provided by designers. As a result, jobs in fashion have been lost over the last two years. The consumer economy now appears stable but the industry will not regain lost jobs over the next few years. On the other hand, the number of jobs is not expected to decline as fast as other occupations because firms are more likely to keep design work in house. Despite the job standstill, the U.S. Labor Department says competition for jobs will increase over the next eight years. The continuing pull of the glamour and creativity associated with the profession, as well as the growth of popular fashion websites, are cited as two of the main reasons for this interest.

Economic and cultural trends show the fashion industry faces a price problem. Demand for affordable but stylish clothing has increased in the last three years and will continue for the foreseeable future. This means there will be more jobs in design firms making mass-market clothing for retailers, chain stores, and wholesale apparel. But sales of high-end and expensive boutique stores are expected to continue their decline, and jobs in design firms catering to these stores will be full.

U.S. data shows that the states of New York and California still offer the best opportunities for fashion designers. (Updated October 4, 2010)

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