Recent unemployment and jobs statistics reveal huge challenges for our nation: 15 million Americans are still out of work, and the number who have been jobless six months or more has reached a record high of 6.8 million. Moreover, the private sector created just 41,000 new positions in May, far short of expectations for 150,000 to 180,000 jobs

But what does this mean for the nation’s nonprofit sector, which is the fourth largest employer of all the nation’s industries, behind only retail trade, manufacturing, and food services?

To answer these questions, the Johns Hopkins Nonprofit Listening Post Project conducted a Sounding, or survey, of its nationwide sample of over 1,100 nonprofit organizations in four key fields (children and family services, elderly housing and services, community and economic development, and the arts) in early April 2010. Respondents were asked to report on their experience over the previous six months, i.e., from October 2009 through March 2010. Altogether, 526 organizations responded, producing a response rate of 46 percent, which is quite high for the nonprofit field, particularly at a time of economic hardship.

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A joint project of the Center for Civil Society Studies at the Johns Hopkins Institute for Policy Studies in cooperation with the Alliance for Children and Families, Alliance for Nonprofit Management, American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging, American Association of Museums, Community Action Partnership, League of American Orchestras, Lutheran Services in America, Michigan Nonprofit Association, the National Council of Nonprofits, and United Neighborhood Centers of America