Nonprofits show job growth amid decline in private sector


Maryland's nonprofit sector accounted for all of the state's private employment growth from 2000 to 2001, a new study says -- a conclusion nonprofit groups plan to use in Annapolis today to argue against state budget cuts.

The report by researchers at the Johns Hopkins University's Institute for Policy Studies found that nonprofit employment grew by 2.5 percent in Maryland during that period -- adding 5,000 jobs -- while for-profit employment fell by 1.1 percent and total employment dipped negligibly.

Overall, nonprofit organizations -- ranging from large hospitals and universities to small groups that help the hungry, homeless and disabled -- accounted for 8.9 percent of the 2.4 million jobs in the state, above the U.S. average of 7.2 percent, the study found.

"Apart from all the discussion of the importance of the programs and services the nonprofit organizations are providing ... there is another reason to continue the state's investment in these programs, and that's that it is helping to fuel the only piece of the economy that's still growing," said Peter V. Berns, executive director of the Maryland Association of Nonprofit Organizations, which commissions the continuing study of nonprofit employment.

Some of the association's 1,200 member groups will travel to Annapolis today to urge legislators not to cut their programs to resolve the state's budget crisis.

State, federal and local governments provide about half of the funding for nonprofit organizations in the state, Berns said.

"Budget cutting can take the wind right out of the sails of this sector," he said.

Anirban Basu, chairman and chief executive officer of Optimal Solutions Group, an economic consulting company in East Baltimore, said the report shows that the nonprofit groups are less sensitive to business cycles than for-profit companies.

"Nonprofit organizations are a source of economic stability and that's part of their import," he said. "Nonprofit employment can sustain itself during very tough economic times."

The report, by professor Lester M. Salamon and researcher S. Wojciech Sokolowski, found that the nonprofit sector added 60,000 jobs in Maryland between 1990 and 2001, making up 17 percent of the state's job growth during that period.

In Baltimore City, nonprofit groups provided 20.5 percent of the 382,584 jobs in 2001. Queen Anne's County had the lowest percentage of nonprofit employment in the state that year, with 2.8 percent of 11,206 jobs.

Within the nonprofit sector, employment in individual and family services grew by 9.3 percent during 2001, the most statewide. Nonprofit home care employment grew by 5.4 percent.

Nonprofit jobs

This table shows nonprofit sector employment in Maryland's large jurisdictions and the percent of total employment that nonprofits represented in 2001.

Maryland 216,941 8.9%

Anne Arundel 11,235 5.5%

Baltimore City 78,499 20.5%

Balto. County 29,517 8.1%

Carroll 4,209 8.5%

Harford 3,527 5.0%

Howard 8,377 6.2%

Montgomery 35,066 7.7%

Prince George's 13,111 4.3%

Source: Institute for Policy Studies

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