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Nonprofit Jobs Fail To Keep Pace

By Charting the Course of the Local Economy
Monday, August 9, 2004; Page E02

Nonprofits are big business in Washington, home to the largest concentration of trade associations in the country. And while a rebounding local economy is causing charities to hire more help, it appears not to be benefiting trade associations, labor unions and political groups as much.

There were 113,800 jobs at religious, grant-making, civic and professional organizations in June, says the Labor Department, twice the proportion of total employment as the nation as a whole.

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The economic turmoil of the past three years hit nonprofits hard, too. Donations dried up, corporate sponsors tightened their purse strings, and a plunging stock market drove down the value of endowments. Local organizations slashed 2,200 jobs in the recession year of 2001 and didn't start perking up until this year.

In the past several months, though, as the economy has improved, jobs have been growing -- at least in some places. Membership organizations such as churches, foundations and civic groups added 2,800 jobs in the 12 months ended June 30.

But little of that growth appears to have hit some of the businesses most associated with Washington. Business, professional, labor and political jobs, including the usual Washington lawyers and lobbyists, added only 600 jobs in the year ended in June. That's a 1.3 percent increase; overall, the region is adding jobs at a 2.9 percent rate.

-- Neil Irwin

© 2004 The Washington Post Company