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Child Care Expenses Keep Women Out of Jobs

Expensive and limited child care continues to keep women from returning to the workforce, according to The Wall Street Journal (subscription).

What’s going on: The country is experiencing a shortage of day care workers:

  • “There were about 58,000 fewer daycare workers in the U.S. last month compared with February 2020, just before the pandemic took hold, according to the Labor Department, even though the broader labor market has recovered all lost jobs.”

Mothers dropping out: Due to the resulting high cost of care, many mothers are unable to work.

  • “The median price to put an infant in center-based care ranges from $8,000 a year in less-populated counties to more than $17,000 in a major metro area, according to a Labor Department report.”

The manufacturing industry is no exception to this trend:

  • Roughly 49% of manufacturers in a recent Manufacturing Institute study said that female employees cite a lack of child care support as a top labor force challenge.  
  • Meanwhile, the industry is facing an average of 800,000 open jobs per month, many of which could be filled by women now kept out of the labor force by child care issues.

What we’re doing about it: The MI’s 35×30 campaign aims to increase the percentage of women in manufacturing from 29% to 35% by 2030. Many manufacturers are offering child care support or increased flexibility to help attract and retain these women.

  • For example, Toyota, 3M, Cornerstone Building Brands and Pioneer Service offer a range of options, which they discussed at a recent MI event.

The last word: “Identifying and implementing child care solutions is a real opportunity for companies looking to develop our current and future workforce,” said MI Director of Women’s Engagement Sarah Shields. “Through our 35×30 campaign, we are actively collecting examples of how to tackle this issue, which we will share more broadly across the industry.”

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