Announcing the 2019 Nonprofit Employment Report from the Johns Hopkins Center for Civil Society Studies

By on January 17, 2019

U.S. nonprofits maintained a robust pattern of job growth through 2016, the latest year for which data are available.
But for-profit companies are making significant inroads in key nonprofit fields, cutting into nonprofits’ market share.
These are just two of the major conclusions emerging from a new report just issued by the Johns Hopkins Center for Civil Society Studies. Drawing on the rich body of data generated by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages, the Hopkins report sheds important new light on recent nonprofit employment dynamics. Among the findings:

  • Between 2007 and 2016, the number of jobs created by U.S. nonprofits grew by 16.7%, nearly four times faster than the country’s for-profit businesses (see Figure 1).
  • Nonprofit job growth was also more consistent, growing both during the recession period of 2007-12 and in the more recent 2012-16 period, whereas for-profit employment fell in the early period and just barely made up the lost ground more recently. Click through the various periods in Figure 1 to see this comparison.


  • Thanks to this growth, by 2016, the nonprofit workforce outdistanced that of all branches of manufacturing in well over half of America’s states.
  • Nonprofits also generated the third largest payroll income of any U.S. industry in 2016, behind only manufacturing and professional services.
  • But nonprofit successes have attracted for-profit firms into nonprofit fields, leading to worrying declines in nonprofit market shares in fields as diverse as social assistance, nursing homes, and hospital care, as shown in Figure 2.


These developments come at a crucial time for the nonprofit sector given major challenges facing the sector as a result of federal policy changes and the 2017 Federal Tax Cut and Jobs Act.
See the Johns Hopkins Center for Civil Society Studies’ 2019 Nonprofit Employment Report for further information on these and other current features of nonprofit employment and wages, including:

  • Nonprofit share of private employment by state, territory, and major counties. This includes the first-ever available data on nonprofits in Puerto Rico.
  • Nonprofit employment and wages compared to other “industries.”
  • Nonprofit employment distribution by field of activity.
  • Nonprofit share of private employment in major fields of activity.
  • Nonprofit vs. for-profit wages by field.
  • Nonprofit employment growth by state and territory.


• Click here to download the full report •

To further explore the data on which this report is based and create graphics focusing on your own region or field please visit Nonprofit Works, an interactive database developed by the Johns Hopkins Center for Civil Society Studies.

Nonprofit Works: An Interactive Database on the Nonprofit Economy offers user-guided access to these new data, along with a rich array of additional data back to 1991 on the National, State, and County levels. Visit Nonprofit Works to explore the nonprofit employment, establishment, and wage data in your state or county.

• Click here to access the Nonprofit Works interactive database •


About the Johns Hopkins Center for Civil Society Studies | email
The Johns Hopkins Center for Civil Society Studies is a leading source of ground-breaking research and knowledge about the nonprofit sector, social investing, and the tools of government. Working in collaboration with governments, international organizations, investment innovators, and colleagues around the world, the Center encourages the use of this knowledge to strengthen and mobilize the capabilities and resources of the public, nonprofit, and for-profit sectors to address the complex problems that face the world today. The Center conducts research and educational programs that seek to improve current understanding, analyze emerging trends, and promote promising innovations in the ways that government, civil society, and business can collaborate to address social and environmental challenges.
About the Johns Hopkins Nonprofit Economic Data Project (NED) | link
Nonprofit organizations are facing increased pressures in states and localities throughout the United States, but the nonprofit sector’s ability to respond to these pressures has been limited by a lack of timely information about how prevailing economic realities are affecting the sector. The Johns Hopkins Nonprofit Economic Data Project (NED) is helping to tackle this problem by charting economic trends in the nonprofit sector, and producing cutting-edge reports on key components of the nonprofit economy in regions and states across the country. Tapping a wide assortment of the best data sources available, the Center’s NED reports cover nonprofit employment, revenues, expenditures, assets, philanthropic resources, and volunteering for the sector as a whole and in particular fields, such as health, education, social services, and arts and culture. They also document changes over time and reveal how nonprofits stack up in comparison to for-profit organizations overall and in key nonprofit fields. Over 40 such reports have been prepared, making it possible for nonprofit leaders to put their sector on the mental maps of policy-makers, the media, the sector itself, and citizens at large. For information on how you can commission a report on the nonprofit economy in your state or region, contact


Media contact: Chelsea Newhouse