Nonprofit jobs grew at an average rate of 2.1 percent a year from 2000 to 2010, compared to a decline of 0.6 percent a year for for-profit jobs, a new report says.
During the recession years of 2007 to 2009, nonprofit jobs grew an average of 1.9 percent a year, compared to an average loss in business jobs of 3.7 percent a year, says the report from the Center for Civil Society Studies at Johns Hopkins University.
“Nonprofit organizations have been holding the fort for much of the rest of the economy over the past decade, creating jobs right through the recent recession and jobs crisis, while other components of the economy have been shedding jobs at accelerating rates,” Lester M. Salamon, author of the report and director of the Center for Civil Society Studies, says in a statement.
But with signs of recovery beginning to appear, he says, “there are serious questions about whether nonprofits will be able to sustain this resilient performance in the wake of the impending sharp cuts in government spending.”
The report, Holding the Fort: Nonprofit Employment during a Decade of Turmoil, is based on data from the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages, a data-collection program of state governments in cooperation with the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Nonprofits in the U.S. employed 10.7 million workers in 2010, accounting for 10.1 percent of total private employment in the U.S. and representing the third-largest workforce among U.S. industries, trailing only retail trade and manufacturing, the report says.
Three service industries account for most nonprofit jobs, with health care accounting for 57 percent, education for 15 percent and social assistance for 13 percent.
While nonprofit job growth overall outstripped business, for-profit employment growth outpaced nonprofits in the three key fields of social assistance, education and nursing-home care, with nonprofits losing significant market share to for-profits in those fields, the report says.
During the recession, nonprofit employment grew in 45 of the 46 states for which data were available, while for-profit employment fell in 45 states.
Nonprofit employment grew in all regions of the U.S. from 2000 to 2010, with average annual growth ranging from 1.5 percent in the East-South-Central region to 3.4 percent in the Mountain region.
In the same period, for-profit employment posted annual average declines in all but two regions, which saw a growth rate that was no more than one-seventh that of nonprofits.