Indiana Nonprofits Buck Weak Economy

Powered by the education and health care industries, nonprofit employment and payrolls in Indiana grew during the height of the Great Recession, amid pockets of decline, outpacing for-profit industries in the Hoosier state during both recessions, in 2008-2009 and 2001.

Employment grew 2 percent and payrolls grew 5 percent at Indiana nonprofits during 2008-2009 while for-profits saw decreases of 8 percent in both areas, according to a new report by Indiana University called “Recessions and Indiana’s Nonprofit Employment.”

The state’s nonprofit sector grew every year from 1995 through 2011, though growth was uneven, according to the study, a joint project of School of Public and Environmental Affairs (SPEA), the Indiana Business Research Center at IU’s Kelley School of Business, Indiana University’s Lilly Family School of Philanthropy and the Johns Hopkins Center for Civil Society Studies. Other nonprofit industries, such as arts, entertainment and recreation, and social assistance, and membership and related organizations, were more vulnerable and continued to falter through the recovery.

Even among subsectors that saw growth, there were pockets of declines. While nonprofit colleges and universities grew employment and payroll between 2007 and 2011, nonprofit junior colleges saw losses of some 40 percent in the both categories over the same time period. During the same time, nonprofit hospitals grew almost every year while nonprofit nursing and residential care grew rapidly in the early years of the study (except 1997-98) but later slowed and decreased.

Employment within education increased the most within nonprofit subsectors, up 56 percent, while payrolls rose 77 percent, followed by health care, which saw 36-percent growth in employment and 65 percent among payrolls.