Nonprofit Jobs Up, But Slowed

Nonprofits have recovered roughly half of the jobs lost since the start of the pandemic 11 months ago even with healthcare and education losing jobs. But just like the overall national numbers, nonprofit job growth slowed down in April after a major rebound in March, including declines in education and health care.

Overall private job growth totaled 218,000 in April, with an estimated gain of 18,000 nonprofit jobs compared to March, which had the biggest jump since August, according to the Center for Civil Society Studies (CCSS) at Johns Hopkins University. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported a total 266,000 jobs, which includes government jobs.

As part of an effort to track the ongoing impact of the novel coronavirus pandemic, CCSS has analyzed monthly data from the latest BLS Employment Situation Report to estimate nonprofit job losses since the pandemic was declared in March 2020.

CCSS described the April jobs report as a “mixed bag in terms of recovery rate” for various fields. Arts, entertainment and recreation led the growth in April:

  • Arts, entertainment, recreation, +12.3%,+13,904
  • Religious, grantmaking, +12.3%,+9,742
  • Social assistance, +8.8%,+9,289
  • Other fields, +8.5%,+2,049
  • Education, -5.7%,-13,904
  • Health care, -0.8%,-1,781

Other fields includes construction, manufacturing, wholesale trade, retail trade, scientific, and others that represent approximately 4.4 percent of total nonprofit employment.

“Unfortunately, April’s jobs report was far less hopeful, with the recovery rate declining and the key fields of education and health care losing additional jobs despite generally positive trends in vaccination rates in most of the country,” according to authors of the report. “What is unclear is whether this indicates a long-term trend back to the anemic growth rates seen throughout the winter, or whether this will prove to be a blip as the evidence of expanded vaccination rates, the decline in infection rates, and the benefits recently enacted by Congress fully click in and begin to create greater certainty in the minds of the population that general recovery and successful reduction of COVID-19 danger are here to stay.”

The 1.1% growth was the fourth consecutive month that saw growth after 3% dip in December but it was the slowest since January, which was 0.9%. As of April, the nonprofit workforce remains down by 811,315 jobs, about 6.5% smaller than before the pandemic. Despite the growth in April, arts and entertainment remains the most impacted on a percentage basis:

  • Arts, entertainment, recreation, -27.7%,-98,703
  • Education, -12.9%,-258,575
  • Religious, grantmaking, -8.5%,-69,421
  • Social assistance, -6.3%,-96,817
  • Other fields, -4.0%,-22,118
  • Health care, -3.5%,-236,200

The nonprofit sector is still on pace to return to pre-pandemic levels of employment in almost 18 months (17.7). Arts and entertainment has the longest road to recovery at 18.3 months, one of three subsectors expected to take longer than year: religious, grant-making, civic, and professional, 13.4 months; and health care, 13.2 months. Three subsectors are on pace to recover within 10 months: Educational services, 9.8 months; other fields, 8.2, and social assistance, 8.1 months.