COVID-19 JOBS UPDATE, MARCH 2021 | Nonprofits Regained Nearly 81,000 Jobs in March, but Still Face a Long Road to Full Recovery

By on April 14, 2021

April 14, 2021
For immediate release
Contact: Chelsea Newhouse
[download as PDF]
 

In our continuing effort to track the ongoing impact of the coronavirus pandemic on nonprofit employment, this report documents our estimates of COVID-induced nonprofit job losses through March 2021, as reflected in the March BLS Employment Situation Report. BLS data showed strong overall growth of 916,000 private, non-farm jobs nationwide during March 2021, reflecting the accelerated pace of re-openings in several states. What is more, while many of the job gains accrued to the leisure and hospitality and retail trade sectors, a significant number of these added jobs were seen in the education field—a key area of nonprofit activity. Indeed, all fields of nonprofit activity experienced significant job gains during the month for the first time since August 2020, though these still left nonprofit jobs well below pre-COVID-19 levels.

In Part 1 of this report we provide an overview of nonprofit job changes since February 2020 as of March 2021. In Part 2 we detail the recovery of lost nonprofit jobs over the past several months; and in Part 3, we provide an updated estimate of the time it will take the sector to return to pre-pandemic employment levels.

PART 1 | Nonprofit job losses as of March 2021

As shown in Figure 1, March saw a significant gain of nearly 81,000 nonprofit jobs over February 2021’s total—an overall recovery of 8.5% of the more than 900,000 jobs still lost as of February 2021.1Our February update found that, as of February 2021, nonprofit job losses stood at an estimated 926,045. However, BLS revisions for January and February resulted in a new estimate for February, which we have incorporated in Figure 1. BLS monthly revisions result from additional reports received from businesses and government agencies since the last published estimates and from the recalculation of seasonal factors. For more information, see: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics March Employment Situation Report (4/2/2021). This represented the largest monthly rebound in nonprofit jobs since August 2020.
 
Of particular note is that over half—45,685—of these overall gains were seen in educational institutions, a 16.2% rebound over February 2021 numbers. But all other fields gained workers during March 2021 as well, with the crucial social assistance field leading the pack, gaining over 10,000 jobs for an overall increase of 9% over February 2021’s numbers. The hard-hit arts, entertainment, and recreation field gained nearly 10,000 jobs, increasing employment in this field by 8% from February 2021’s levels though, as shown in Figure 2 below, this field remains down by over 30% compared to pre-pandemic employment levels. Religious, grantmaking, civic, professional, and similar organizations added 3,100 jobs—a 4% increase over the previous month, and health care institutions added 5,000 jobs, an increase of 2%.

 
Despite these gains, however, as of March 2021, the nonprofit workforce remained down by nearly 830,000 jobs compared to February 2020 levels, representing a 6.6% decline, as shown in Figure 2.2To estimate nonprofit job losses, we began with the latest available Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data on nonprofit employment by field, which cover 2017, and calculated the nonprofit shares of total private employment by field as of this date. We then applied these shares to the monthly changes from pre-COVID (i.e., February 2020) levels in private employment by field as reported in the monthly BLS Employment Situation Reports to derive our estimates of monthly changes in nonprofit employment by field, such as those reflected in Figures 1, 2, and 3 of this report. For more on these estimates, see: Salamon & Newhouse, “The 2020 Nonprofit Employment Report,” Nonprofit Economic Data Bulletin no. 48, (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Center for Civil Society Studies, June 2020). These lost jobs include nearly 32% of all workers in nonprofit arts and entertainment organizations; 12% of nonprofit education workers; 10% of all workers in nonprofit religious, grant-making, and civic associations; 7% of workers in nonprofit social service institutions; and 3.6% of nonprofit health care workers.

 
As shown in Figure 3, while March 2021 saw the most significant rebound in total nonprofit employment in recent months, there is still a long way to go to see a return to pre-pandemic employment levels (choose a field from the drop-down menu to see field-level data).


 

PART 2 | Tracking the recovery—June 2020 through March 2021

As reported in our 2020 Nonprofit Employment Report, during the first three months of the pandemic (i.e., March, April, and May 2020), we estimated that nonprofits had lost 1.64 million of the 12.5 million jobs they accounted for prior to the onset of the crisis. As shown in Figure 4, in June, July, and August, 2020, significant shares of these initial job losses were recovered. Beginning in September 2020, however, this nonprofit employment improvement slowed significantly, with the months of September-February seeing only a 4.1% increase overall. However, 4.9% of these initial job losses were recovered in March—a promising sign, but one that will need to be sustained in future months to restore nonprofit employment to pre-pandemic levels.
 
What is more, all fields of nonprofit activity saw improvement in March. Leading the pack was the educational field, which regained over 14% of the initial 323,000 jobs lost during the first three months of the pandemic, reflecting the increased pace of school re-openings (choose a field from the drop-down menu to see field-level data).


 

PART 3 | Months to recovery at recent rates

Following the procedure laid out in our December report, we have updated our estimates of the possible time to full recovery of nonprofit employment back to pre-pandemic levels. To do so, we assumed that the average rate of nonprofit job recovery over the previous months (July 2020 through March 2021) will prevail over the foreseeable future. With an estimated 828,038 nonprofit jobs still lost as of the end of March and an average of 46,019 nonprofit jobs recovered per month, this suggests it would take the sector 18 months—or 1.5 years—to return to its pre-COVID level of employment, as shown in Figure 6. This represents a significant improvement of nearly 6 months over our February estimate.
 
Also shown in Figure 6 are the recovery rates of nonprofit employment in the various fields of nonprofit activity using the same approach, but with one notable exception—education—which had previously seen only marginal month-over-month gains. In light of the Biden Administration’s prioritization of school reopening and its push to speed up vaccinations for education workers, we anticipated that this previous record of exceedingly slow improvement in this field would likely turn around quickly. To account for these hopeful trends, we combined an upper-bound estimate based on the average job gains in this field over the full 10-month recovery period (i.e., June 2020-March 2021, for an average of 8,747 restored jobs per month), with a lower-bound estimate based on just the three months of June, July, and August, which witnessed the first truncated effort to open schools and which saw an average of 46,773 jobs restored per month. As it turned out, this hopeful prediction began to be borne out in March’s sizable jobs gains in this sector. As a result, our combined estimate of these two projected growth pasts yields a current estimate of 8 months until nonprofit education employment returns to its pre-COVID level. Given that this timeframe roughly corresponds to the opening of the 2021-22 school year, we believe that this estimate is the most realistic expectation for this sector, barring major setbacks in gaining control of the pandemic.

 

Conclusion

March 2021 saw the largest overall recovery of nonprofit jobs since August 2020. While this is a hopeful sign as we head into the Spring and Summer months, with an estimated over 820,000 nonprofit jobs still lost, this recovery will need to be sustained for a significant period to restore nonprofit employment to pre-pandemic levels. Whether this will be possible in light of the appearance of new, and potentially more lethal, virus strains, remains far from clear as of this writing.
 
 

NEWS RELEASE | To Close Digital Equity Gaps, U.S. Should Endow a Digital Futures Foundation from Proceeds of Spectrum Auctions—New America and Johns Hopkins Experts Propose Bold Fix for Digital Inclusion Gaps

By on April 5, 2021

April 5, 2021 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE     WASHINGTON, DC—Today, New America’s Open Technology Institute and the Johns Hopkins University Center for Civil Society Studies jointly released a proposal to invest a portion of the windfall proceeds from recent and

COVID-19 JOBS UPDATE, FEBRUARY 2021: Nonprofit Sector Lost Over 7% of Its Workforce in the First Year of the Pandemic

By on March 12, 2021

March 12, 2021 For immediate release Contact: Chelsea Newhouse [download as PDF]   In our continuing effort to track the ongoing impact of the coronavirus pandemic on nonprofit employment, this report documents our estimates of COVID-induced nonprofit job losses through

PtP in the News: Boston Globe Op-Ed urges PtP solution to digital divide

By on March 5, 2021

In a new Op-Ed published yesterday in the Boston Globe, PtP Director Lester Salamon and Michael Calabrese, Director of the Wireless Future Project at New America, argue that a portion of the tens of billions of dollars being generated by

COVID-19 JOBS UPDATE, JANUARY 2021: Nonprofit Jobs Still Down by Nearly 960,000 as of January, Time to Full Recovery Increases to 2 Years

By on February 16, 2021

February 16, 2021 For immediate release Contact: Chelsea Newhouse [download as PDF]   In our continuing effort to track the ongoing impact of the coronavirus pandemic on nonprofit employment, this report documents our estimates of COVID-induced nonprofit job losses through

COVID-19 JOBS UPDATE, DECEMBER 2020: Nonprofits Lost Over 50,000 Jobs in December, Reversing a Slow Recovery

By on January 19, 2021

January 19, 2021 For immediate release Contact: Chelsea Newhouse [download as PDF] Note: The headline of this report has been update to correct a typo.   In our continuing effort to track the ongoing impact of the coronavirus pandemic on

COVID-19 JOBS UPDATE, NOVEMBER 2020: Nonprofit Job Recovery Rate Drops to 1.9% in November, Could Take 2.4 Years to Fully Recover

By on December 15, 2020

December 15, 2020 For immediate release Contact: Chelsea Newhouse [download as PDF]   As 2020 draws to a close, we have analyzed data from the latest BLS Employment Situation Report to estimate nonprofit job losses through November, continuing our effort

COVID-19 JOBS UPDATE, OCTOBER 2020: Nonprofit Jobs Rebound Slightly in October, But Remain Down by Over 900,000 Compared to Pre-COVID Levels

By on November 16, 2020

November 16, 2020 For immediate release Contact: Chelsea Newhouse [download as PDF]   In our continuing effort to track the ongoing impact of the coronavirus pandemic on nonprofit employment, we have analyzed data from the latest BLS Employment Situation Report

COVID-19 JOBS UPDATE, SEPTEMBER 2020: Nonprofit Employment Recovery Slowed Significantly in September, Still Down By Nearly 8%

By on October 21, 2020

OCTOBER 21, 2020 For immediate release Contact: Chelsea Newhouse [download as PDF]   As part of our continued effort to track the ongoing impact of the coronavirus pandemic on nonprofit employment, we have analyzed data from the latest BLS Employment

NEWS RELEASE | The World’s Third Largest Charitable Foundation—A byproduct of the PtP concept

By on September 13, 2020

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Chelsea Newhouse We are pleased to announce the publication of an in-depth case study of the newest and largest foundation to emerge from the implementation of the PtP Concept—a recently discovered, but powerful, “third route” to

COVID-19 JOBS UPDATE, AUGUST 2020: Nonprofit Jobs Still Down By Nearly 1 Million Despite a Partial Recovery

By on September 4, 2020

SEPTEMBER 4, 2020 For immediate release Contact: Chelsea Newhouse [download as a PDF]   Despite a partial recovery of the U.S. economy from the recent pandemic, new data released today by the U.S. Bureau Labor Statistics suggests that nonprofit employment

Follow-up to the 2020 Nonprofit Employment Report: A State-Level Data Dashboard

By on June 22, 2020

Following on the heels of our Tuesday release of the 2020 Nonprofit Employment Report, we are pleased to invite you to explore our new interactive nonprofit employment data dashboard, which provides access to more detailed state-level data than we were

The 2020 Nonprofit Employment Report: The 3rd largest employer faces the COVID-19 crisis

By on June 16, 2020

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Media contact: Chelsea Newhouse     A new report from the Johns Hopkins Center for Civil Society Studies finds that U.S. nonprofits maintained their position as the third largest employer in the U.S. economy, overtaking manufacturing by

You’re Invited: Invisible Giant—Webinar on the Economic & Social Power of the Nonprofit Workforce

By on May 26, 2020

Center Director Lester Salamon is pleased to participate in an upcoming webinar hosted by Fund the People that will explore the economic and social importance of the U.S. nonprofit workforce, and how we can help policymakers understand and support nonprofit

In Memoriam: Dr. S. Wojciech Sokolowski

By on May 12, 2020

Dear Friends and Colleagues,   It is with great sadness that I write to announce the passing on Saturday, May 3, of our dear friend and colleague, Wojciech Sokolowski.   As you may be aware, Wojciech had been suffering for

PtP in the News: World Financial Review article on PtP and stolen assets

By on April 15, 2020

A new article focusing on PtP has been published in the latest edition of The World Financial Review. Noting that past experience with the return of stolen assets to governments has too often led to disappointing results, this brief piece,

PtP in the News: WINGS Philanthropy in Focus Blog Highlights PtP

By on March 31, 2020

A new article by Center Director Lester Salamon published on the WINGS Philanthropy in Focus blog introduces a promising new route to creating endowed charitable foundations through the process we have termed “Philanthropication thru Privatization,” or PtP for short. This

The PtP Beat Goes On: Number of PtP Foundations and Amount of Assets Continues to Grow

By on February 17, 2020

PtP: 635 foundations, $200 billion in assets and counting The PtP Project team is pleased pleased to let you know that the number of identified PtP foundations around the world has continued to expand, as has the amount of assets

NEWS RELEASE: The Impact of Rotary Volunteering—47 Million Hours a Year and Counting

By on December 5, 2019

Media contacts: Chelsea Newhouse (JHU/CCSS) Stephanie Herzfeld (Rotary) [download as PDF]   According to a new study released today by the Johns Hopkins Center for Civil Society Studies, with just 563 paid employees globally, Rotary International annually mobilizes volunteer effort

NEWS RELEASE: Not just an urban phenomenon—New data on the nonprofit workforce

By on August 28, 2019

UPDATED September 6, 2019 Media contact: Chelsea Newhouse [download as PDF]     Common wisdom holds that nonprofit employment is essentially an urban phenomenon. But new data generated by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics using a technique developed by

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

Newly Available on Nonprofit Works: Latest BLS Data on Nonprofit Employment and Wages

By on November 7, 2018

Following on the heels of a recent addition of 2015 estimates of nonprofit employment, the Center for Civil Society Studies is pleased to announce the addition to the Nonprofit Works interactive database of a full set of data on 2016

The Contribution of Rotary International Volunteering

By on November 6, 2018

Rotary International is partnering with the Johns Hopkins University Center for Civil Society Studies to capture an accurate picture of the amount, character, and value of volunteer work activities that Rotary either sponsors or organizes. At the core of this

New Official Visibility for the Global Third Sector and Social Economy: A Major Statistical Breakthrough

By on October 8, 2018

Capping a three-year process, the United Nations has released a new statistical guidance document for nations to use to generate solid data on the world’s third, or social economy, sector—the TSE Sector.   Unknown by most observers, this sector—embracing nonprofit

NEWS RELEASE: Nonprofit rate of job growth outpaces for-profit rate by over 3-1 over last decade

By on August 28, 2018

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Media contact: Chelsea Newhouse [download as PDF]     Data just released by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics using a technique first developed by the Johns Hopkins Center for Civil Society Studies shows