Hours worked in this industry increased by an average of 3.2% per year between 1985-86 and 2005-06 (figure 14.2). There was particularly strong growth in hours worked over the two years 1993-94 and 1994-95, following the recession. This was due to a significant increase in employment as average hours worked remained relatively stable.
To some extent it appears that this industry might provide an example of 'Baumol's cost disease'. Baumol and Bowen (1966) point out that the same number of musicians are needed to play in a string quartet today as in the 1800s. The inference is that it may be difficult to obtain any productivity improvement because output will be constant as there is no quality adjustment to be made. Labour will also remain constant, and that all that changes are costs. On the other hand, there may be some areas at the industry level where productivity improvements might occur. For instance, industry output is recorded for a whole year of the string quartet and not just one performance. Travelling time between performances has improved since the 1800s, thus making it possible to give more concerts, without any substantial increase in inputs.
The composition of labour in the Cultural & recreational services industry has changed since 1985-86. The share of employment in libraries, museums and the arts subdivision has grown from 23% in 1985-86 to 28% in 2005-06. The subdivision covering motion picture, radio and television services has declined from 25% to 18%, while sport and recreation increased moderately.
There has also been a shift towards more part-time employment in the industry. Since 1985-86, part-time employment grew strongly in sports and recreation, and the libraries, museums and the arts sub-divisions.