20100402 hiring sign 18
A "now hiring" sign is posted on a table during a career fair at AT&T Park in San Francisco, Calif. - 


STEVE CHIOTAKIS: Unemployment is more than 9.5 percent. But a study out this week shows a bright spot in hiring. And it comes from a sector of the economy that might surprise you. Nonprofits get a lot of their money from foundations and corporations. And apparently they're hiring more workers during the downturn than even the commercial world is.

Reporter Janet Babin reports.

JANET BABIN: The study is out of Johns Hopkins University. It analyzed data from 21 states from mid-2007 to mid-2009. During that time, nonprofits added jobs at a rate of 2.5 percent a year while jobs at for-profit firms declined more than 3 percent.

Professor Lester Salamon led the research. He explains why not-for-profits were able to keep hiring during the recession.

LESTER SALAMON: Demand increased enormously, and the stimulus program increased Medicaid funding, and Medicaid funding goes to a very broad array of nonprofit organizations.

But a lot of that stimulus money is going to dry up. Many organizations fear their worst economic times may actually be ahead of them.

Trisha Lester is with the North Carolina Center for Nonprofits.

TRISHA LESTER: It's not going back to the way it was. The status quo is not going to return.

Lester says successful nonprofits will need to adapt to the new economic reality, along with everyone else.

I'm Janet Babin for Marketplace.