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Jim Hanchett
School of Public and Environmental Affairs

Steve Hinnefeld
IU Communications

Adriene Davis Kalugyer
The Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University

Last modified: Monday, December 10, 2012

IU report: Nonprofit jobs and wages have grown in Indiana arts and related industries

Dec. 10, 2012

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- As the end of the year approaches with its holiday shows and events, a new report from Indiana University finds that employment and wages in Indiana's nonprofit arts, entertainment and recreation industries are growing but trail more rapid growth in for-profit employment and wages in these industries.

Even so, "nonprofit arts, entertainment and recreation organizations play an important role in preserving culture, enriching the lives of children and adults, fostering creative expression and providing entertainment," the report's authors conclude. "They may also serve as an economic force for the state by attracting both tourists and a young, educated workforce that can have a major positive impact on regional output and productivity."

Kirsten Grønbjerg

Kirsten Grønbjerg

Print-Quality Photo

"Indiana Nonprofit Employment: Historical Trends in Arts, Entertainment and Recreation, 1995-2009" is a joint project of Indiana University's School of Public and Environmental Affairs, the Indiana Business Research Center at IU's Kelley School of Business, the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University and the Johns Hopkins Center for Civil Society Studies. Kirsten Grønbjerg, the Efroymson Chair in the Center on Philanthropy and professor at SPEA, is the project director and lead author. Co-authors are IU doctoral student Kellie McGiverin-Bohan and master's students Alexandra Buck, Kristen Dmytryk, Katherine Gagnon and Weston Merrick.

The researchers used employment statistics provided by a variety of nonprofit institutions, including major cultural institutions such as the Indianapolis Museum of Art, sports clubs and tiny chamber music associations. Those numbers were compared with corresponding figures provided by for-profit establishments, such as dinner theaters, commercial arts, spectator sports, amusement parks and riverboat gambling. The researchers were unable to include statistics from the very few government institutions in this industry.

Nonprofit employment in the arts, entertainment and recreation industry grew a relatively modest 8.5 percent from 1995 to 2009, while for-profit employment more than doubled. An increased emphasis on sports tourism in the state likely contributed to growth in both sectors, but expanded opportunities for riverboat gambling beginning in 1995 appear to have benefited mainly for-profit employment.

Average nonprofit wages in arts, entertainment and recreation, or AER, grew 7 percent from 1995 to 2009, adjusted for inflation. Average for-profit AER wages grew more than three times as fast, up by 25 percent. Overall, AER remained one of the lowest-paying industries in Indiana, especially among nonprofit workers, most likely reflecting a large percentage of part-time and seasonal workers.

The analysis points also to several other notable themes in the arts, entertainment and recreation industry.

"There are very pronounced patterns of seasonality in employment across almost all sub-industries and all sectors," Grønbjerg notes. "That means a significant segment of employees in this industry must find other employment during the off season, and AER establishments must devote considerable resources to hiring, training and terminating employees."

The report also finds clear evidence of sector specialization in some sub-industries. Thus nonprofits dominate museums and historical sites, while there is growing competition between nonprofits and for-profits in other sub-industries.

Overall, however, AER employment became a more important element in Indiana from 1995 to 2009. While Indiana experienced an overall decrease in employment, total AER employment grew by 79 percent, and the number of AER establishments increased by 18 percent. Payroll in AER increased an impressive 121 percent, from over $560 million in 1995 to $1.24 billion in 2009, adjusted for inflation.

"It is important to note that during the worst period of the Great Recession, employment in the arts, entertainment and recreation sectors remained stable while overall employment in Indiana decreased," said Lewis C. Ricci, executive director of the Indiana Arts Commission. "Research such as this is vitally important in reinforcing the message that these jobs not only make a significant contribution to the economy of our state, but may also weather dramatic changes in our economy better than many other industries."

Most of the growth in arts, entertainment and recreation occurred in the booming economic years from 1995 to 2000, when total AER employment grew 12.5 percent annually on average. Even during the most recent Great Recession years of 2008 to 2009, AER employment remained stable while overall Indiana employment shrank 6 percent, highlighting the importance of this industry in the Indiana economy and in the lives of the people in our state.

The researchers pointed out that current information collected as part of state and federal reporting requirements does not directly identify nonprofit employers. As a result, they note, "it is impossible to know how many people Indiana nonprofits actually employ, but it is almost certainly significantly higher than we can document in this report." A minor change in reporting formats to flag nonprofit employers directly would allow for much more complete and accurate reporting.

The report is the seventh nonprofit employment report in the Indiana Nonprofits: Scope and Community Dimensions project, which Grønbjerg directs. The next will assess the impact of nonprofit employment trends in health services.

A summary, a four-page abstract and the complete report are available online. For more information or to speak with Grønbjerg, contact Jim Hanchett at the School of Public and Environmental Affairs, 812-856-5490 or, or Steve Hinnefeld at IU Communications, 812-856-3488 or

About the School of Public and Environmental Affairs

SPEA is a world leader in public and environmental affairs and is the largest school of public administration and public policy in the United States. In the 2012 "Best Graduate Schools" by U.S. News & World Report, SPEA ranks second and is the nation's highest-ranked professional graduate program in public affairs at a public institution. Four of its specialty programs are ranked in the top-five listings, including nonprofit management, ranked first. SPEA's doctoral programs in public affairs and public policy are ranked by the National Academy of Science as the best in the country.

About the Center on Philanthropy

The Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University is a leading academic center dedicated to increasing the understanding of philanthropy and improving its practice worldwide through research, teaching, public service and public affairs programs in philanthropy, fundraising and management of nonprofit organizations.

About the Indiana Business Research Center

The Indiana Business Research Center, an integral part of Indiana University's Kelley School of Business since 1925, collects, transforms and interprets vast amounts of data for and about Indiana and the nation. The center's work product includes multiple websites, including STATS Indiana, STATS America, The Stats House and, in partnership with the Indiana Department of Workforce Development, the Hoosiers by the Numbers workforce data site. Its keystone publications are the Indiana Business Review and IN Context.

About the Johns Hopkins Center for Civil Society Studies

The Johns Hopkins Center for Civil Society Studies is a leading source of research and knowledge about the nonprofit sector, social investing and the tools of government. The center's research and educational programs seek to improve current understanding, analyze emerging trends and promote promising innovations in the ways that government, civil society and business can collaborate to address social and environmental challenges.