Non-profits were hit hard by the Great Recession. But despite the negative impact of the recession on grants, donations and other sources of funds, the overall sector managed positive job growth from 2008 to 2010.
The chart below, from the Johns Hopkins Non-Profit Economic Data Project, shows that while non-profit job growth slowed, the sector way out-performed the for-profit sector of the economy.
The non-profit segment is large, employing 10.5 million U.S. workers in 2010. This is roughly the same size as the oil and gas industry. About 50% of non-profit employees work in health care, with education (13%) and social services (11%) also large sectors.
Few non-profits are large (more than 500 employees) and these are mostly hospital chains and universities. The vast majority of U.S. non-profits have less than 20 employees and the growth of social entrepreneurship helped lead to this increase in jobs.
See our Overview of the Non-Profit Sector for more details.