BLS Announces New Nonprofit Employment Data, with Push from the Aspen Institute

October 24, 2014

New, specially-released research by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) shows that in 2012, nonprofit organizations comprised more than 10% of all private sector employment in the country, accounting for 11.4 million employees.*

In some states, more than 15% of private sector jobs are nonprofit!

Particularly striking is the finding that nonprofit employment steadily increased from 2007 through 2012, even as the rest of private employment fell during that period, as a result of the recession. The vast majority of nonprofit jobs (68%) are in health care and social services, followed by education (16%).

The fact that these statistics were released at all is a major victory for the Aspen Institute’s Nonprofit Data Project – an effort of the Program on Philanthropy and Social Innovation – as well as our partners and the nonprofit sector as a whole.

Working with Johns Hopkins Center for Civil Society Studies, Foundation Center, GuideStar, Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at Indiana University, and the Center on Nonprofits and Philanthropy at the Urban Institute, Aspen has been urging BLS to release this information for several years.

Johns Hopkins, in particular, worked with BLS on a method for identifying nonprofit employment, merging the Bureau’s Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages with information from the IRS. Thus, this treasure trove from the government did not even require new data collection!

Do you think that information showing the economic force of the nonprofit sector in your state, or the country, is helpful?

BLS will release this information annually, only if we make the case that it is useful.

So please show your interest by sending comments to the Bureau of Labor Statistics telling them why this information is useful to you, and asking them to release the research annually. Even brief comments are helpful and can be entered on the BLS website here: h​t​t​p​:​/​/​d​a​t​a​.​b​l​s​.​g​o​v​/​c​g​i​-​b​i​n​/​f​o​r​m​s​/​b​d​m​?​/​b​d​m​/​h​o​m​e​.​h​t​m​.

For more details on the BLS research, see slides developed by the researchers: h​t​t​p​:​/​/​w​w​w​.​a​s​p​e​n​i​n​s​t​i​t​u​t​e​.​o​r​g​/​s​i​t​e​s​/​d​e​f​a​u​l​t​/​f​i​l​e​s​/​c​o​n​t​e​n​t​/​d​o​c​s​/​p​s​i​/​n​o​n​p​r​o​f​i​t​s​_​i​n​_​a​m​e​r​i​c​a​_​b​l​s​.​p​d​f​ and the BLS website: h​t​t​p​:​/​/​w​w​w​.​b​l​s​.​g​o​v​/​b​d​m​/​n​o​n​p​r​o​f​i​t​s​/​n​o​n​p​r​o​f​i​t​s​.​h​t​m.

View Comments