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July, 1987, Vol. 110, No. 7
Characteristics of workers
in nonprofit organizations
The U.S. economy has been described as "two-tier" with a "split personality, languid in manufacturing but dynamic in the services sector."1 More precisely, there is a third tier if the services are classified into for-profit and nonprofit services. The tertiary nonprofit sector contributes importantly to the dynamics of the services economy which experienced rapid employment growth between 1970 and 1985.2 (See table 1.)
Nonprofit employment accounts for a significant portion of the service economy. It is mostly concentrated in the subsector identified in Federal Government statistics as "other services." The other services group is a heterogeneous assembly of services that fall outside of such industries as transportation, communications, public utilities, finance, insurance, and real estate. It includes business, medical, professional, and personal services, hotels, and other industries, many of which have a nonprofit presence in varying degrees.
In response to the employment growth trends in the services sector, labor force analysts have recognized the need to distinguish between the private profit-oriented labor force and the nonprofit segments. Despite the general lack of data on nonprofit activities in Government statistics, a classification according to whether a given organization is profit-oriented or nonprofit has been introduced in other studies. Although the resultant estimates are often crude, they provide an additional dimension of description and analysis—one that cuts across existing industrial classifications within the private service sector.
This excerpt is from an article published in the July 1987 issue of the Monthly Labor Review. The full text of the article is available in Adobe Acrobat's Portable Document Format (PDF). See How to view a PDF file for more information.
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1 New York Times, May 30, 1985.
2 Handbook of Labor Statistics, December 1983), table 67 and Employment and Earnings (Bureau of Labor Statistics, February 1986).
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