News and Information about the nonprofit sector in Massachusetts. Check back frequently to keep informed.
May 12, 2021
Nonprofit Sector Expected to Recoup Job Losses by Mid-2022

January 22, 2021 — The nonprofit sector as a whole will take nearly 18 months from now to recover jobs lost during the coronavirus pandemic, with the arts and entertainment sector taking longer than other sub-sectors to regain those jobs, according to a recently completed study.

As of December 2020, the nonprofit workforce remained down by nearly 930,000 jobs compared to estimated pre-COVID February 2020 levels, representing a 7.4% decline from its pre-pandemic level, the report issued this week by Johns Hopkins University reported.

The lost jobs include 36.6% of all workers in nonprofit arts and entertainment organizations; 15% of nonprofit education workers; over 9% of all workers in nonprofit religious, grant-making, and civic associations; 9% of workers in nonprofit social service institutions; and 3% of nonprofit health care workers.

The loss of nearly 51,000 nonprofit jobs—an overall decline of 5.8% compared to the level in the previous month of November—depressed what had been tepid growth in nonprofit employment in the prior three months.

While the report did not break out numbers by state, the Massachusetts nonprofit sector has seen job losses across all sectors, with arts and culture organizations being particularly hard hit. The Mass Cultural Council in November reported that cultural organizations lost $484 million in revenue and 30,000 jobs since the pandemic took root in the state last March.

During the first three months of the pandemic, March through April, the Johns Hopkins University Center for Civil Society Studies estimated that the nonprofit sector nationally lost 1.64 million out of 12.5 million jobs.

in June, July, and August, significant portions of lost job were recovered, the report noted. However, beginning in September, this nonprofit employment improvement slowed significantly. In December, it turned negative, declining by 3.1%, likely reflecting, according to the report, the worsening of the COVID-19 pandemic and the restrictions put in place to try to slow its spread.

December’s loss of 50,757 nonprofit jobs came close to wiping out the gains recorded in the previous two months.

Full recovery of lost jobs is expected to vary by sub-sector, as follows:

  • The nonprofit sector as a whole: 17.8 months
  • Arts, entertainment, and recreation: 25.5 months
  • Educational services: 12.0 months
  • Social assistance: 11.3 months
  • Religious, grantmaking, civic, professional, and similar: 9.4 months
  • Health care: 6.9 months
  • Other fields: 11.7 months

“The failure of so many of our citizens to adhere to the COVID prevention guidelines has not only contributed to a dramatic rise of COVID cases and deaths in our country. It has also led to a resumption of job losses in the nonprofit sector as in the economy as a whole,” the report noted.

How long the nonprofit job downturn will persist is far from clear, and there may be still more losses in the short term, according to the report, but over the longer term, increasing availability of vaccines and greater federal action are expected to boost recovery across the sector.

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