Md. nonprofit sector beats for-profits in job growth

March 31, 2004|By Kate Shatzkin | Kate Shatzkin,SUN STAFF

Nonprofit job growth in Maryland continued to outpace the for-profit sector in 2002 as it did for much of the 1990s, a new report has found.

The study, produced by the Maryland Association of Nonprofit Organizations and the Johns Hopkins Center for Civil Society Studies, found that nonprofits added nearly 6,800 jobs to the state's economy in 2002 - a growth rate of 3.1 percent.

By contrast, overall employment in Maryland was flat that year and for-profit employment actually declined by nearly 1 percent, eliminating more than 10,800 jobs, the report found.

In Baltimore City, nonprofit employment grew by 2.6 percent from 2001 to 2002, while for-profit jobs fell by twice as much.

Between 1992 and 2002, nonprofit employment grew by 29 percent, compared with 18 percent for for-profit jobs.

"What makes it significant is that it's the sector that repeatedly in Maryland is experiencing growth," said Stephanie Geller, manager of the Nonprofit Employment Data Project, who wrote the study with Lester M. Salamon, a Johns Hopkins professor. "I think it really demonstrates that nonprofits are really a resilient sector. Many people don't understand they're a significant presence in the state."

The nonprofit sector accounted for 223,704 jobs in Maryland by the end of 2002 - 9.2 percent of all jobs in the state. The wages for those jobs accounted for 10 percent of the state's payroll, the report found.

Peter V. Berns, executive director of the Maryland Association of Nonprofit Organizations, said: "We were waiting on the edge of our seats to see whether there would be a decline in the nonprofit sector employment as the recession kicked in during this time period. It pretty much is the only segment of Maryland's economy that is growing."

The greatest growth was in hospitals and social service, recreational and cultural nonprofit institutions, which expanded by 4 percent.

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