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Nonprofit jobs grow in Michigan

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The nonprofit sector has served as a rare engine of job growth in Michigan over the past 10 years, a role it has continued to play in the recent recession, a recent report says.

Nonprofit employment grew 17.4 percent between 2001 and 2007, compared to a drop of 9.5 percent in for-profit employment, and grew 2.6 percent between the second quarter of 2007 and the second quarter of 2009, compared to a drop of 12.8 percent in business-sector employment, says Michigan Nonprofit Employment, a report by the Center for Civil Society Studies at Johns Hopkins University.

Nonprofits in Michigan employ nearly one of every 10 workers in the state, compared to the national average of 7.2 percent, and employ 11 times as many workers as the state’s motor-vehicle manufacturing industry.

The state’s nearly 375,000 nonprofit employees earned nearly $14.5 billion in wages in 2009, accounting for an estimated $90 million in personal income tax revenues for state and local governments.

Nonprofit employment in the state grew as a share of overall private employment to 12 percent in 2009 from 8 percent in 2001.

Still, demand on nonprofits outpaced their ability to meet it, producing “enormous strains” on the organizations, the study says.

“Michigan nonprofits organizations are clearly making heroic efforts to cope with the expanding needs being produced by Michigan’s decade-long recession,” Lester M. Salamon, author of the study and director of the Center for Civil Society Studies, says in a statement. “And they are helping the state’s economy in the process.”

Michigan’s nonprofit sector, which grew in every region of the state, is the fourth-largest employer among the state’s industries, trailing only manufacturing, retail trade and local government.

While overall weekly wages of nonprofit employees are lower than those of for-profit and government workers, nonprofit average weekly wages generally outpace for-profit wages in industries in which nonprofits and for-profits both are significantly involved.

“Our nonprofits are working to respond to the rapidly increasing demands and shrinking resources,” Kyle Caldwell, president and CEO of the Michigan Nonprofit Association, says in a statement. “These pressures are producing enormous strains on organizations, but at the same time providing great leadership opportunities as the nonprofit sector employment grows.”

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