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December 3, 2021
Delta Variant Could Threaten Recent Nonprofit Job Growth
Coronavirus Massachusetts Map

August 22, 2021 — If Massachusetts reflects national conditions, the nonprofit sector continued to see strong job growth last month, although the spreading Delta variant and corresponding growing measures to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus could stall or reverse this trend, especially in fields like the arts and education, according to a new report.

Assuming the average rate of nonprofit jobs recovered from January through July 2021 continues going forward, the Center for Civil Society Studies at Johns Hopkins University projected that the sector would require 12.4 months—or just over a year—to return to its pre-COVID level of employment.

However, the new report warned that data on which the analysis was completed were collected prior to the current surge in infections and hospitalizations and that “ the next several months will be crucial to understanding how this latest surge will affect employment as a whole and in the nonprofit sector specifically.”

Nationally, July saw a sizable gain of more than 67,000 nonprofit jobs compared to June 2021’s total, representing a gain of nearly 10% of the 682,000 jobs still lost as of June, according to the Center for Civil Society Studies.

In July, compared to June’s staffing levels:

  • Nonprofit employment in religious, grantmaking, civic, professional, and similar organizations grew by over 20%.
  • Educational field jobs increased nearly 15%.
  • Nonprofit arts, entertainment, and recreational organizations saw jobs increase by more than 11%.
  • Nonprofit health care institutions posted a gain of nearly 7% .

June’s adjusted 68,000 recovered jobs representing the recovery of 4.2% of the estimated 1.64 million nonprofit jobs lost during the first three months of the pandemic, and July’s 67,000 recovered jobs representing a similar 4.1% recovery. Therefore, during June 2020-July 2021, nonprofits have recovered a combined 62.6% of the nonprofit jobs lost as of May 2020.

Despite these recent gains, however, as of July 2021 the nonprofit workforce still remained down by nearly 615,000 total jobs compared to its estimated pre-pandemic level, the Center for Civil Society Studies noted.

Following are estimates of national nonprofit job losses nationally since the pandemic began:

Estimated number of jobs as of February 2020

Estimated nonprofit job losses, July 2021 vs. February 2020

Share of nonprofit job lost, July 2021 vs. February 2020

Arts, entertainment, and recreation




Educational services




Religious, grant making, civic, professional, and similar




Social assistance




Health care




Other fields








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