ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - There are fewer charities in Minnesota than there were seven years ago, but the number of nonprofit employees and service locations are on the rise.

Industry experts say those trends are signs of an economic rebound after the recession caused many nonprofits to merge or close.

Reports say that charitable giving in Minnesota also seems healthier.

When hospitals, colleges and universities are excluded, the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits says the number of nonprofit jobs in Minnesota grew 2 percent per year from 2007 to 2012. That's during a time when the for-profit sector lost jobs.

In the metro area, nonprofit groups are especially interested in efforts to close the achievement gap and increase access to higher education for low-income and minority students.