Nonprofit Organizations Are America’s 3rd Largest Employer

Posted July 20, 2018

Understanding the Economic Power of Nonprofit Organizations

The John Hopkins Center for Civil Society Studies recently released a report entitled “Nonprofits: America’s third largest workforce,” which details nonprofit employment nationally, by state, and by various counties. The report, bolstered by data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, highlights the economic value and power of nonprofit organizations.

A few key takeaways include:

  • Nonprofit organizations employ 11.9 million Americans nationwide and are America’s third largest workforce, with retail trade as the largest, and manufacturing as the second largest. Additionally, nonprofit employment exceeds that of manufacturing in nearly half of all states.
  • Nonprofit employees belong to a variety of sectors. The health field employs the greatest percentage of employees at 54.3%, followed by education at 15.6%, and social assistance at 12.1%.
  • The growth of nonprofit employment is outpacing that of finance, wholesale trade, and manufacturing, among other industries.

Nonprofits are undeniably crucial in terms of our nation’s culture, health, and educational richness, but this report makes the argument for their economic necessity, as well. To read the results in full, you can access the report here


For over 40 years, we have worked with nonprofits and witnessed firsthand the impact these organization have in driving economic growth.

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