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Job Growth at Nonprofits Makes Large Rebound in March

Posted: 4/19/2021

Click here to read on The Chronicle of Philanthropy.

Nonprofits added an estimated 81,000 jobs in March, the largest rebound seen since August, according to researchers at the Johns Hopkins University Center for Civil Society Studies.

Nonprofits still have a long way to go before they reach pre-pandemic employment. With an average of 46,000 jobs a month added by nonprofits since July, the authors estimate it will take 18 months for nonprofit employment to reach what it was in February 2020.

Due to differing rates of job recovery, some nonprofit causes will wait longer. The researchers estimate it will take arts, entertainment, and recreation nonprofits 21 months to reach pre-pandemic employment, while educational services are projected to do so in eight months. That's a big change: Before March, educational services had some of the slowest rates of job recovery among nonprofits.

"In light of the Biden administration's prioritization of school reopening and its push to speed up vaccinations for education workers, we anticipated that this previous record of exceedingly slow improvement in this field would likely turn around quickly," reads the report.

More than half of the March job gains came from hiring at educational institutions, which added nearly 45,700 jobs in March, a 16 percent increase over the month before. Other causes also saw strong hiring in March, with social-assistance nonprofits adding roughly 10,200 jobs, an increase of 9 percent over the month before. The gains are more impressive considering that adjustments to the Bureau of Labor Statistics unemployment estimates for February were revised in a rosier direction.

Arts, entertainment, and recreation nonprofits continue to employ far fewer people than they did a year ago, down 113,300 jobs from an estimated 335,965, or a 32 percent drop. Educational nonprofits employ 235,700 fewer people than they did before the pandemic, a nearly 12 percent decline from 2 million workers. Over all, the nonprofit work force in March was about 7 percent smaller than it was a year ago, with the loss of 828,000 jobs from what had been 12.5 million.

Johns Hopkins University's Center for Civil Society Studies has been monitoring changes in nonprofit employment since mid-2020. Its numbers are estimates based on Bureau of Labor Statistics data on the proportion of nonprofit workers in different parts of the economy.

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