More than half a million people in Massachusetts are employed by nonprofit organizations, accounting for 17 percent of the state’s workforce and representing the sixth largest state nonprofit sector in the nation, according to a report released by a nonprofit umbrella group.
The 650-member Massachusetts Nonprofit Network’s report used data from the federal government’s Bureau of Labor Statistics and determined that 529,538 nonprofit sector jobs in Massachusetts during 2015 delivered more than $30 billion in wages for employees. According to the network, the BLS data measured nonprofit jobs in every state for each year between 2007 and 2012, combined information from federal agencies, and measured nonprofit jobs in every industry, including finance and technology.
“Nonprofits are the vibrant fabric of our communities, but few realize that they are an economic powerhouse too,” Jim Klocke, CEO of the Massachusetts Nonprofit Network, said in a statement released with the report. “The nonprofit sector is a major employer across the state, and it saved tens of thousands of jobs during the Great Recession. This data underlines the importance of nonprofits, and why we need to make it easier for these organizations to grow and succeed in Massachusetts.”
Assisted by federal stimulus law funds delivered to states that were facing steep budget and service deficits, Massachusetts nonprofits added nearly 17,000 jobs in 2008 and 2009, the report said.
Massachusetts has more than 22,000 not-for-profit organizations, ranging from small charities, neighborhood social service organizations and youth sports leagues to large universities and health care systems, according to Attorney General Maura Healey’s office, which oversees nonprofits.
All public charities operating in Massachusetts are required by law to register and file annual reports with the attorney general’s office, which shed light on the activities and finances of nonprofits. Nonprofits enjoy certain tax advantages but are required to deliver public benefits.
According to the report, the nonprofit sector is larger than many people believe.
“Nonprofits often engender thoughts of youth and education, health care, social services, and the arts. The Massachusetts nonprofit sector covers those industries and more,” the report said. “The BLS study identifies thirteen industries in Massachusetts with nonprofit organizations, including the professional and technical services industry, the management industry, the finance industry and the information industry.”
The report was featured as part of the network’s Commonwealth Insights, a new quarterly publication highlighting policy, issues, and trends important to the nonprofit sector. The District of Columbia, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont and Maine ranked higher than Massachusetts in nonprofit sector jobs as a percentage of total private sector employment.
The report can be found here.