Monday, November 20, 2006

Bigger than transportation or finance, and spreading

If you're a non-profit manager about my age (let's just say 40-something and leave it at that), maybe you share my distinct impression that this sector is bursting out all over in the U.S. The researchers at John Hopkins have crunched official detailed employment data and the numbers agree that paid employment in private non-profits is booming.

For example more people are employed in private not-for-profit organizations than in transportation or in finance and insurance combined. Non-profit employment is now more than 8 percent of all private employment nationally, and rising: in a sample of five states for which they analyzed the state further, non-profit employment from 1995 to 2003 rose at triple the rate of total employment.

There are clear regional differences: private non-profit employment basically rises (as a percentage of all jobs) as you move west to east across the country. The sector "has tended to be concentrated in urban areas," but "the concentration of nonprofit employment in urban centers is changing. Like the population generally, nonprofit employment is growing rapidly in suburban areas....nonprofit job growth in the suburbs has not only been faster than that in the cities, but it has also been faster than private job growth generally in the suburbs."

This is the same data that informs the researchers' conclusion that the non-profit wage gap (that people get paid less for the same work at non-profits than at for-profits) is at best a half-truth. More of their reports on non-profit employment, including state-by-state breakdowns, can be found here.

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