While other sectors of the economy were shedding jobs in 2010, the nonprofit sector experienced a 1 percent increase in job growth, a new report from the Johns Hopkins Nonprofit Economic Data Project finds.
Based on an analysis of U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the report (overview) found that while other sectors saw a decline in job growth, nonprofits — which employ nearly 10 percent of all private workers in the United States — boosted their employment by a cumulative total of nearly 5 percent between 2007 and 2010, despite a challenging economic environment. According to the report, the growth trend continues a pattern that was evident after the 2002 recession, when nonprofits added jobs at an overall annual average rate of 2.3 percent between 2000 and 2007, while job growth among for-profit companies averaged 0.4 percent over the same period.
At the same time, the nonprofit sector has not been immune to the continuing sluggishness in the economy, with the rate of job growth in the sector falling from 2.6 percent in 2008 to 1.2 percent in 2009 and 0.8 percent in 2010. Even so, the analysis found that in all but one of the six major subsectors examined, civic organizations, the average annual increase in job growth ranged from 1.5 percent to nearly 2 percent. The other subsectors examined were education, the arts, professional services, health, and social assistance.
"People tend to overlook the nonprofit sector when thinking about job creation," said Lester M. Salamon, the report's senior author, "but...we would do well to recognize it as 'the little engine that could,' producing a substantial share of the job growth we have seen in the U.S. economy."