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72% Of Nonprofit Workforce Is Back

The nonprofit workforce added almost 10,000 jobs in December, recovering about 2% of the estimated half-million jobs still outstanding and more than 72% of those lost since the pandemic was declared.

The Johns Hopkins University Center for Civil Society Studies has been tracking nonprofit job losses and rebounds, based off estimates of the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) monthly data. The 18th monthly report by the center will be the final one as the report transitions into a summary dashboard that will update as new data become available.

Nonprofits added 9,246 jobs in December, reducing the total lost jobs by 2% of the 468,116 jobs still estimated to be missing as of November, led by religious and social assistance organizations:

  • Religious, grantmaking, civic, professional, +2,869/+8%
  • Social assistance, +3,781, +6.9%
  • Education, +2,412, +2.1%
  • Arts, entertainment, recreation, +109, +0.2%
  • Health care, -1,347, -0.7% 

As of the end of 2021, nonprofits have recovered 72.1% of jobs estimated to have been lost as of May 2020. The center estimates that nonprofits lost an estimated 1.64 million jobs of at least 12.5 million jobs, reducing the nonprofit workforce by about 12.7% as of May 2020.

Overall, nonprofits gained about 0.6% in job growth during December, with all but health care recording a positive recovery, led by religious, grantmaking, civil and professional associations:

  • Religious, grantmaking, civil and professional associations, +2.0%
  • Social assistance, +1.5%
  • Education, +0.7%
  • Arts, entertainment, recreation, +0.1%
  • Health care, -0.2%

Recovery has varied across areas of the nonprofit sector but all subsectors tracked by the center have recovered at least two-thirds of the initial jobs lost:

  • Education, 65% of 323,000
  • Health care, 64% of 547,500
  • Social assistance, 80% of 259,000
  • Religious, grantmaking, civic, professional, 77.5% of 147,000
  • Arts, entertainment, recreation, 78% of 206,000

More than 144,000 of the estimated 196,000 jobs still missing in health care, about 73%, were in nursing and residential care facilities.

As of December, the nonprofit workforce is estimated to be about 3.7% smaller – some 459,000 jobs – than it was before the pandemic, with the largest outstanding job losses still found in the arts:

  • Arts, entertainment, recreation, 12.5%
  • Education, 5.6%
  • Religious, grantmaking, and civic associations, 4%
  • Social service, 3.4%
  • Health care, 2.9%

The center estimates that the nonprofit workforce could return to pre-pandemic levels in 11 months, given the current average pace of recovering 41,841 nonprofit jobs per month during 2021. Within subsectors, the recovery rate varied from as little as 5.9 months among education organizations to 8.8 months within social assistance.

“The twin challenges of the unpredictable nature of the ongoing pandemic and significant difficulties in hiring now coming to light” make it difficult to predict with the future holds for the nonprofit workforce, according to the center. ‘With nearly a half million of the sector’s pre-pandemic workers still missing from the workforce, nonprofits have a steep hill to climb as they continue their critical work to assist and support the recovery of their communities.”

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