As City Faces Cuts, Study Finds Non-Profit Sector Is Largest Private Employer

While Mayor Michael Bloomberg is proposing more cuts to non-profit social services, particularly to low-income childcare programs, a study released Monday by the Fiscal Policy Institute shows that the non-profit sector is the largest employer in the city's private economy.

The FPI, an independent economic research organization, further found that women comprise about 80 percent of the workforce in the non-profit healthcare and social service sector, and that 80 percent of the workforce is made up of minorities. 

"To the extent that budget cuts fall in the social services and healthcare delivery areas, this will adversely affect an important source of employment for women and persons of color," said James Parrott, an economist with FPI who prepared the study.

Parrott added the non-profit sector is also critical to the borough economies.  For example, the study notes that in the Bronx, 40 percent of private employment is comprised of jobs in the non-profit social services and healthcare sector.

"It's an important source of employment that enable people to work near where they live," Parrott said. 

The study shows the non-profit healthcare and social services sector, which encompasses close to half a million jobs, added 79,000 jobs in the last 11 years. During this time, the rest of the private sector and the city's public sector shed 29,000 jobs combined. 

Representatives of the non-profit social services sector said preserving funding for isn't only about saving jobs. 

"If government invests more in human services, not only are you employing people directly and creating jobs, you're also providing services that help people," said Allison Sesso, the deputy executive director of the Human Services Council, an umbrella organization for social service providers. "It's proven that these services help people move forward with their lives and become and remain employed."

The FPI study noted the non-profit sector is still struggling to keep up with the heightened demand in low-income communities for social services and healthcare in low-income communities.

Mayor Bloomberg’s budget proposal last week laid out a $68.7 billion budget with cuts to fire companies and low-income childcare programs.

The mayor and the City Council must agree on a final version of the budget by the end of June.