According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics employment of crafts people and fine artists is projected to grow by 5 percent from 2010 to 2020, slower than the average for all occupations.
The outlook is especially depressing if you are not keeping up with new technology: "Demand for illustrators who work on a computer will increase as media companies use more detailed images and backgrounds in their designs. Illustrators and cartoonists who work in publishing may see job opportunities decline as traditional print publications lose ground to other media forms."
Some trends are good for artists, "...consumers show continued interest in locally-made products", while others work against them, "...job growth for craft artists may be limited by the sale of inexpensive, mass-produced items designed to look like handmade American crafts."
Fine artists and craft artists account for about 14% of the employed in this country.
Competition for jobs in arts and crafts is expected to be strong because
there are more qualified candidates than jobs available. It is expected that only the most
successful craftspeople and artists will receive major commissions for their work.
"Competition among artists for the privilege of being shown in galleries is expected to remain intense, as will competition for grants from funders such as private foundations, state and local arts councils, and the National Endowment for the Arts. Because of their reliance on grants, and because the demand for artwork is dependent on consumers having extra income to spend, many of these artists will find that their income changes with the overall economy."
Over the ten year period between 2010 and 2020 employment is only expected to grow by 5%. That's not per year, that's over the entire 10 year period. While this might seem depressing for artists as a whole, those who learn to keep up with technological progress, both in sales and marketing and in the creation and distribution of their craft or art, will likely have a much easier time, not only making a living, but hopefully thriving.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics