About 700,000 parents with young kids left the workforce in 2020. For many, loss of child care was to blame.

Connecting the Dots – #YesThisIsAnArtsStory Repost from The 19th News

Chabeli Carrazana| 13 January 2021

Coronavirus closed thousands of daycares last year, forcing parents with young children out of the labor force in droves. The scale of that exodus is now clear: about 700,000 parents are out of the workforce.

New data analysis by the Center for American Progress (CAP), a progressive think tank, found that working parents with children under the age of 5 — especially working mothers — have dropped out of work. Some parents were laid off and gave up trying to find work due to caregiving responsibilities; others left the workforce in order to provide child care.

The research compiled by Rasheed Malik, a senior policy analyst for early childhood policy at CAP, quantifies how much the loss of child care has affected economic stability in families with children, and among working mothers most of all. It was one of the main contributors to the first recession in the nation’s history disproportionately impacting women, making them the most likely to be laid off due to coronavirus closures and the most likely to leave their work in order to take over child care responsibilities.

According to CAP’s analysis, about two-thirds of those parents who left the labor force were mothers.

“More often the mother is saying, ‘I should just leave my job and be here managing my household and we’ll figure things out once the pandemic is over.’ And that is a completely reasonable thing to do. [But] it shouldn’t always be falling on mom,” Malik said. “And then we’re going to have a real problem when we have millions of folks, and women especially, trying to reenter the labor force when we might not have the same kind of child care infrastructure that we used to.”