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US Department of Labor: Nearly 1 In 1,000 Americans Is a Working Musician

According to new statistics from the US Department of Labor, nearly one In 1,000 Americans is a working musician.

The Department of Labor counted 269,400 working musicians in 2010. When you match that up against the latest US Census population figure -- 308,745,538 people -- it means that one in 1,146 American adults is either flying from arena to arena in a private Boeing 720 with a bar, shower room, TV and white fur bedroom (like Led Zeppelin circa 1973) or just scraping by on low-paying gigs at assorted dives and back yards.

The figures include musicians, singers, composers, musical directors and similar endeavors.

More Labor stats from 2010:

Number of 'Musicians, Singers and Related Workers': 269,400
Subset of 'Musicians and Singers': 176,200
Subset of 'Music Directors and Composers': 93,500
Median Hourly Salary, Musician/Singer: $22.39
Median Hourly Salary, Director/Composer: $22.10

Also, according to the Labor statistics, jobs among musicians have grown since 2000, a big surprise considering the latest recession (and all the mini-recessions before and after it).

For more information (and a nice chart), check out Digital Music News.

Photo: Cindy Moorhead

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Damian Fanelli
Damian Fanelli

Damian is Editor-in-Chief of Guitar World magazine. In past lives, he was GW’s managing editor and online managing editor. He's written liner notes for major-label releases, including Stevie Ray Vaughan's 'The Complete Epic Recordings Collection' (Sony Legacy) and has interviewed everyone from Yngwie Malmsteen to Kevin Bacon (with a few memorable Eric Clapton chats thrown into the mix). Damian, a former member of Brooklyn's The Gas House Gorillas (opens in new tab), was the sole guitarist in Mister Neutron (opens in new tab), a trio that toured the U.S. and released three albums (opens in new tab). He now plays in two NYC-area bands.