Full Recovery of Nonprofit Jobs Still Likely to Take 18 Months
April 16, 2021 — Average nonprofit job growth in recent months suggests that the sector nationally will take another 18 months to return to its pre-COVID level of employment, according to a newly completed analysis released this week.
The sector as a whole regained nearly 81,000 jobs in March, the largest monthly rebound in nonprofit jobs since August, according to the Johns Hopkins University Center for Civil Society Studies, which noted “there is still a long way to go to see a return to pre-pandemic employment levels.”
The projection for recovery to a pre-COVID level of employment is based on the average rate of nonprofit job recovery from last July through March.
More than half of the gains—45,685—were seen in educational institutions, a 16.2% rebound over February numbers. Johns Hopkins attributed this strong gain to the Biden Administration’s prioritization of school reopening and its push to speed up vaccinations for education workers.
All other fields gained workers during March 2021 as well, with the social assistance field leading the pack, gaining over 10,000 jobs for an overall increase of 9% over February’s numbers.
The hard-hit arts, entertainment, and recreation field gained nearly 10,000 jobs, increasing employment in this field by 8% from February’s levels though 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%.
Although numbers were not broken out by state, Massachusetts nonprofits, especially those in the arts and culture sector, have experienced job losses commensurate with national trends.
“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,” the report noted. “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.”
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