Despite 10% of Workforce in Nonprofits, Nonprofit Employment and Wage is Not Tracked in Quarterly Workforce Data, Keeping Nonprofit, Business, and Government Leaders in the Dark

Text of Letter (PDF)

Washington (February 13, 2024) – United States Senators Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) sent a letter to Acting Secretary of Labor Julie Su, and Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Shalanda Young, urging the Department of Labor (DOL) to incorporate nonprofit workforce data into the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW). The senators are urging DOL to include $4 million in its Fiscal Year 2025 budget request to track this data in the QCEW. 

“The QCEW is an essential tool for policymakers and businesses across nearly every industry, covering nearly 95 percent of American jobs.  Every quarter, it provides an accounting of employment and wages across the economy and catalogs data for specific sectors. QCEW-generated data provides industry leaders and public officials with vital information to make business and economic policy decisions. However, the QCEW reports do not disaggregate nonprofit workforce data, despite the roughly 10 percent of American workers—almost 17 percent in Massachusetts—who work for a nonprofit,” wrote the senators. 

The senators noted that BLS has an important role as the only independent statistical agency that objectively and accurately measures labor market activity, and is crucial to informed policymaking and business decisions. However, BLS’s budget has not kept up with inflation, forcing the agency to cut key products and reduce the scope of others, like the QCEW. 

Instead of tracking nonprofit employment and wage data in the QCEW, BLS issues a separate nonprofit report roughly every five years, leaving nonprofit leaders and policymakers to make decisions with data that no longer reflect the reality of the economy, and presenting a significant barrier to accurate and effective policymaking and sector planning. 

Given these concerns, the senators are urging DOL to request additional funds in its upcoming budget request to add nonprofit data to future QCEW reports.