NEW REPORT | Pennsylvania Nonprofits: A Major State Industry

Our newest report, Pennsylvania Nonprofits: A Major State Industry, highlights the important role the sector plays in the economic vitality of the state. The report, produced by our Nonprofit Economic Data Project, reveals that the nonprofit sector is not only the state’s largest industry in terms of employment, but that it has also shown remarkable resiliency in recent years.
Here are just a few key takeaways from the report:
Pennsylvanina’s private, nonprofit organizations employed 776,258 paid workers as of 2012. This makes Pennsylvania’s nonprofit sector the largest industry in the state, employing more people than the retail trade, manufacturing, finance and insurance, and construction by substantial margins. What is more, these nonprofit jobs were not solely found in the urban centers, with nonprofits representing 10% or more of private employment in 47 of 65 counties on which data are available. This makes clear the hugely important role that the nonprofit sector plays in the economic life of all Pennsylvania’s regions.

Where are these employees concentrated within the nonprofit sector? The answer is clear: the health care and social assistance fields—including hospitals (32% of all nonprofit employees), nursing homes (14%), ambulatory health clinics (11%), and social services (10%)—dominate employment in Pennsylvanina’s nonprofit organizations. Education accounts for an additional 21% of all nonprofit employment, with colleges and universities leading the way at 14% of employment.
Nonprofits paid a total of $36.2 billion in wages in 2012—15.4% of the state’s total private wages. In turn, these wages generated an estimated $627.5 million in state income tax revenues and $265.7 million in local income tax revenues.
As we have found in previous state, regional, and national reports, the nonprofit sector in Pennsylvania proved to be far more resilient than the for-profit sector during the recent economic downturn. Growing 5.5% between 2007 and 2012, nonprofits far outpaced for-profits which shrunk by 2.1% over the same period. These findings, in conjunction with previous reports showing similar trends around the country, are compelling evidence of the resiliency of the nonprofit sector and of its important role in helping to blunt the impact of the recent economic difficulties on employment in many parts of the U.S.
The complete report, Pennsylvania Nonprofits: A Major State Industry, including a county-by-county breakdown of nonprofit employment vs. employment in the manufacturing industry, can be downloaded here.


Chelsea Newhouse

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Chelsea Newhouse served as the Center's Communications Manager and managed the Nonprofit Economic Data and Philanthropication thru Privatization Projects. Prior to joining the Center in 2008, she worked for the Johns Hopkins University Department of Molecular Biology & Genetics, the Baltimore Sun, and as a community organizer for Clean Water Action and the Democratic National Committee. She holds a degree in Philosophy from the University of Virginia. Following the Center's closing, Chelsea now serves as Project Manager at the East-West Management Institute, where she continues to work on the Philanthropication thru Privatization Project and other civil society development initiatives around the world. Chelsea can be reached at