Clergy Joblessness On The Rise

Joblessness Hits the Pulpit
More Churches Lay Off Clergy as Donations Drop; Few Get Severance Benefits
[Based on a recent Wall Street Journal Article]

While some economists insist that the national economy appears to be recovering from the worst downturn in many generations, significantly declining donations in churches result in rising clergy unemployment. Official government reports estimated about 5,000 clergy were unemployed in 2009, up sharply from 3,000 in 2007, and a much lower 2,000 only four years prior in 2005.

A trending decrease in attendance in many denominations and the short-term stresses of the extant recession are being attributed as the primary cause for recent clergy and church-staff layoffs.

A Barna Research survey of 1008 adults conducted in the first two months of 2010 had nearly 30% of them indicating they reduced their giving to their church by an average of 30%. While nearly 50% of the 3,000 members of the National Association of Church Business Administration (NACBA) report reduced or frozen salaries and/or benefits.

Since salaries for many clergy are typically low anyway, clergymen are particularly hard hit by this recent economic fall out.

Some church leaders are concerned donations won’t reach prerecession levels as long as unemployment stays elevated.

Reportedly, megachurches, those with 2,000 or more attendees, are among the hardest hit by the recession.

Read Wall Street Journal Article

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