May 27, 2017
 
Mass. Nonprofit Employment Outpaces Overall Job Growth

May 10, 2016 — Nonprofit employment in Massachusetts has grown by nearly 5.6% during the last three years, according to a report released today, outpacing overall employment growth and continuing a trend stretching back to the start of the millennium.

Total nonprofit employment reached 529,538 at the end of 2015, according to numbers issued by the Massachusetts Nonprofit Network (MNN), the state's nonprofit trade association, up 5.57% from the end of 2012. There are about 34,000 nonprofit organizations in Massachusetts.

In comparison, total employment in the Bay State rose 3.99% during the same period, from 3,257,067 to 3,387,000.

The MNN figures were based on a model that assumed similar employment growth for nonprofits and all Massachusetts non-farm employment. The statewide numbers, from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, is based on total employment.

Jim Klocke, CEO of MNN, said health care and higher education organizations have experienced stronger job growth than the economy as a whole, which, he said, is likely to continue, as more people access health care and as more adults pursue two- and four-year college degrees.

"We want the demand for social services to drop, but the needs are there," he said.

Klocke said he expects nonprofit job growth to outstrip overall Massachusetts job growth through 2020 and beyond.

According the state Office of Labor and Workforce Development, employment statewide was expected to grow 11.3% from 2012 to 2022.

Nonprofits today account for about 17% of all Massachusetts jobs, up from 13% in 2005.

MNN released its numbers in connection with publication of a report which noted that "when the economy is weak, the Massachusetts nonprofit sector is resilient — adding jobs even during the Great Recession."

A report issued in 2014 found that Massachusetts nonprofit employment grew nearly 6% from 2007 to 2012 as total employment in the state remained virtually unchanged. And, according to MassINC , a public policy think tank, statewide nonprofit employment grew by 8.6% from 2000 to 2003, despite an overall decline of 4.1% in statewide employment.

According to MNN, which has about 630 nonprofit members, "nonprofits provide strong, consistent job growth over time and supply badly-needed new jobs in industries ranging from health and education to science and technology."

Klocke said nonprofits are inherently more stable than publicly traded companies because the former are not owned by shareholders: "The value of a public company can change dramatically, leading to cost cutting, while nonprofits usually don’t experience such wide swings."

To help increase stability within the Massachusetts nonprofit sector, Klocke said an effort is underway to streamline state government disclosure requirements of nonprofits to make it easier for nonprofits to meet demands of multiple government funding sources.

He said discussions with legislators will likely get underway in late summer and early fall "to reduce hiccups in the funding streams" to help improve nonprofit stability, as unplanned, mid-year cuts in government funding can jeopardize bank lines of credit to nonprofits, throwing their operations into chaos.

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