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Attention Maine Job-Seekers: Think Nonprofit

PHOTO: A new report says in Maine last year, there were more jobs in the nonprofit sector than the private sector. Photo courtesy of Ferry Beach Ecology School.

PHOTO: A new report says in Maine last year, there were more jobs in the nonprofit sector than the private sector. Photo courtesy of Ferry Beach Ecology School.


January 31, 2013

PORTLAND, Maine - Employment in the nonprofit sector in Maine represents a significant portion of overall employment, according to a new report that comes amid news of higher-than expected hiring nationwide in January.

The report, compiled by the Maine Association of Nonprofits (MANP), found that one in seven jobs in the state is in the nonprofit field - including hospitals, charities, arts and culture groups. That ratio was the same two years ago, said Brenda Peluso, MANP's director of public policy, but a dip in employment in the for-profit world and 4 percent growth in nonprofit employment gave the edge to the latter.

"So if you consider nonprofits an industry in and of itself," she said, "then we are the largest employer in the state."

Charities added $9.3 billion to the Maine economy, according to the report, contributing more than 18 percent of the state's gross product, greater than the manufacturing and constructions industries combined.

Peluso said she believes Maine needs an economic development plan that takes into consideration the important role of nonprofits.

"When they talk about job creators, they're not talking about the nonprofit sector," she said, "and I think one in seven Maine workers would argue that that one is significant enough to be part of any plans to support job creators."

Peluso said she disagrees with complaints that there are too many nonprofit groups or questions about their value.

"People think of the for-profit sector as the economic engines," she said, "and what I think this report shows is that nonprofits are also an important part of the Maine economy."

While it is easy to identify economic impact, the report concluded, the full impact of Maine's nonprofits is really measured by lives changed and communities enriched.

The report is online at nonprofitmaine.org.

Mark Scheerer, Public News Service - ME