Modest rebounds in nonprofit jobs during the past six months reversed course in December — the first drop since May — and nearly wiped out two months of job growth, according to a new estimate on nonprofit jobs.
The Center for Civil Society Studies (CCSS) at Johns Hopkins University estimated a loss of almost 51,000 nonprofit jobs in December, down 3.1 percent from November. “December was a very disappointing month,” Director Lester Salamon said on the new episode of Fresh Research, a podcast by The NonProfit Times. “There is no subsector that has come back all the way.”
December saw an overall decline of 3.1 percent, or almost 51,000 jobs, after increases of less than 2 percent in each of the previous three months.
Healthcare was the only field to see an increase in December as compared to November, up 7.4 percent, or 17,000 jobs. It’s possible that reflected efforts of health care institutions to respond to the expanding COVID caseloads and the initial phases of the vaccination rollout, according to Salamon.
Nonprofit employment was down by an estimated 930,000 jobs, or 7.4 percent overall, by the end of 2020 compared to estimates pre-COVID in February. The most severely impacted subsector was arts, entertainment and recreation, which has lost 36.6 percent of jobs, followed by education, 15 percent; civic associations, religious, and grant-making organizations, 9.4 percent, and social service, 9 percent. Healthcare fared the best, down 3.1 percent since the pandemic.
It would take almost a year-and-a-half to return to a pre-COVID level of overall nonprofit employment, based on CCSS calculations and assuming the average rate of recovery during the past six months continues for the foreseeable future. Within certain fields, the recovery would project to take anywhere from 7 months (healthcare) to 25 months (arts). Arts is the outlier there, as all the other fields would be projected to recover sooner within a year or less.
Given new information about vaccine availability and potentially energized federal attention promised by the incoming Biden administration, there is reason to expect that job recovery will resume, Salamon said.