Hollywood sheds 17,000 jobs in August amid strikes

Actor Karen Brown walks the picket line with fellow SAG-AFRA actors and Writers Guild of America (WGA) writers in front of Paramount Studios in Los Angeles, California, July 17, 2023.

Mike Blake | Reuters

Hollywood’s labor pool is taking a hit as the dual strikes by actors and writers drag on.

The film, TV and music sectors shed a combined 17,000 jobs in August, “reflecting strike activity,” the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics said Friday morning.

In contrast, the U.S. economy added 187,000 jobs during the month, spurred by growth in the health care, leisure and construction industries. It topped the 170,000 jobs forecast, according to Dow Jones.

The job losses for the motion picture and sound recording industries underscore one effect of the Writers Guild of America and SAG-AFTRA strikes, which began in May and in mid-July, respectively. In the months since, several notable films and shows halted or wrapped production early.

Hollywood’s massive work stoppage has also had a widespread impact on other sectors such as hospitality and real estate, costing California’s overall economy an estimated $3 billion so far. Hollywood’s striking writers and actors are negotiating with legacy studios for better pay as streaming and the threat of artificial intelligence affect their compensation.

Last month, writers’ union WGA said it received a new proposal from the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, the body representing major studios like Netflix, Disney and Amazon, to resume talks.

It came after weeks of stalemate and slow progress.

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