The nonprofit sector was the growth sector of the 1980s. This is the conclusion reached from detailed examination of the growth trends of major industry groups in New York State in the years 1981 through 1987. The analysis in this article suggests that the growth of the nonprofit sector was due primarily to the strong orientation of the economy toward services, where the nonprofit sector has traditionally had an important presence. Within service industries as a whole, the nonprofit and for‐profit sectors grew at comparable rates; however, nonprofit growth was concentrated in semipublic services and in services where information is often difficult for consumers to acquire and understand, while the for‐profit sector grew in simpler and more privately oriented services. The analysis shows that the nonprofit sector filled much of the gap left by reduced or stagnating government services. However, the growth of the nonprofit sector may be difficult to sustain in the future if sufficient entrepreneurial talent and other resources are not forthcoming.