The nonprofit sector is the fourth-largest employer in Michigan and has been one of the few engines of job growth in the state in recent years, a new report from the Center for Civil Society Studies at Johns Hopkins University finds.
The report, Michigan Nonprofit Employment (24 pages, PDF), found that the sector employs nearly one of every ten workers in the state — eleven times that of the auto industry — and that in 2009 the state's 374,537 nonprofit employees, more than two-thirds of whom work in the health services field, earned nearly $14.5 billion in wages, which generated an estimated $90 million of income tax revenue for state and local governments. The report also found that nonprofit employment in the state grew 17.4 percent between 2001 and 2007, partially offsetting the massive job losses that were taking place in the private business sector, and grew an average of 1.3 percent annually between the second quarter of 2007 and the second quarter of 2009.
The report is part of the Center for Civil Society Studies' Nonprofit Economic Data Project, an initiative funded by a three-year, $120,000 grant from the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation to develop a data source on nonprofit employment in cooperation with the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Lester M. Salamon, the center's director and author of the report, noted that in the twenty-one states examined to date, nonprofit employment continued to grow despite the recent economic downturn.
"We know the good work that [the nonprofit sector] does, but we rarely recognize its role as a source of employment, expenditures, and general economic impact," Salamon said. "Our findings indicate that the nonprofit sector stays the course even when the going gets tough. Nonprofit employers — hospitals, nursing homes, human service agencies, colleges, cultural institutions — don't pull out of the field just because they don't make a profit. They serve as reliable, durable protectors of the public's interest."