Nonprofits play a vital role in the social and economic well-being of the United States. According to an April 2018 report by Johns Hopkins Center for Civil Society Studies, titled “Nonprofits: America’s Third Largest Workforce", there are 11.9 million nonprofit jobs in the U.S., making the nonprofit sector the third largest employer in the country. Only two other industries -retail trade (15.7 million) and manufacturing (12.3 million) account for a larger workforce.
While nonprofit workers are employed in a wide variety of fields, 54.3% of nonprofit workers are employed in the health field- encompassing hospitals, clinics and home health services, followed by education (15.6 percent), social assistance (12.1 percent), other services (6.7 percent), arts and recreation (2.5 percent), and professional services (2.2 percent).
Employment is just one factor in determining the importance of the nonprofit to the U.S. economy. Tracking and charting economic trends is imperative in assisting the nonprofit sector with increasing challenges - on both a local and federal level. Their ability to respond to these challenges has been greatly restricted by a lack of information and data in their sector and how it relates to other industries.
The John Hopkins Nonprofit Economic Data Project (NED), in collaboration with other local and federal agencies is collecting and providing vital data related to and for the nonprofit sector.