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Exacerbated by pandemic, childcare crisis hinders economy | Work

Seattle (AP) — After Brian Khan’s son was born in July, an occupational therapist and his wife, a teacher, began looking for childcare in the Los Angeles area. The couple called eight day care centers. Others stopped receiving their calls, and some didn’t answer at all.

As a result, Kang scrambled and found a new job that could be worked remotely, as there were no viable options.

“I told my manager,’Hey, by the end of the month I have to make the transition,'” Kang said. But now we have one less body to meet the patient. “

Kang said he was lucky to find a job teaching online classes, but an unexpected career pivot forced him to cut wages by 11%.

In fact, even if you can find a day care spot for your three-month-old son, the cost of baby care for $ 2,500 a month is so high that you can work and take care of it from home. You can get a low-paying job. Babies are the most economically wise thing to do.

The child care business has been operating in a broken paradoxical market for many years. Low wages for workers and high costs for consumers. Still, important services were somehow stalled.

Now, the pandemic has revealed that many experts have long warned. The lack of reliable and affordable childcare restrictions that people can accept makes it difficult to climb corporate ladders and ultimately limits the growth potential of the wider economy.

“Early learning is no longer considered just a woman’s problem or a child’s problem. It’s really seen as an economic problem. It’s about labor force participation,” said Child Care Aware of America. Policy chief Mario Cardona said. “It’s about employers who don’t have to worry about being able to rely on their employees.”

Child Care Aware of America has been a licensed child care program since the pandemic began, based on approximately 16,000 closed centers and home day care aggregates in 37 states from December 2019 to March 2021. It is estimated that 9% of the cases are completely closed.

Today, the resignation of teachers, exposure to the coronavirus, and closure of day care reveals an endangered industry that has widespread impact on the workforce of the economy as a whole.

The national crisis has forced many — Mainly women — quit their jobsReshaping the childcare crisis, as a problem not only for parents of young children, but also for those who depend on them.It is contributing Labor shortage, Which in turn hurt the business and made it more difficult for customers to access goods and services.

“The decisions we make about the availability of childcare today are over the next few decades by influencing who will return to work, the type of work parents take, and the career paths they can follow. It will shape the macro economy of the United States, “said Betsy Stevenson. Economist at the University of Michigan.

President Joe Biden Unprecedented burst of federal spending Expecting the childcare market to take root. At Baltimore’s recent Town Hall, he assured his parents that “you don’t have to pay more than 7% of your income for childcare.” Federal funds are sent directly to the care center to cover costs above the 7% cap. This means that the median US family earning $ 86,372 pays $ 6,046 annually for childcare.

Biden’s plans also include a universal kindergarten that can further reduce family childcare costs. The expanded monthly payment from the child tax credit approved by Biden’s $ 1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package will be extended for an additional year. The president also proposed increasing the scale of tax credits for childcare costs. All of these should help improve family access.

The Congressional Budget Office has not yet scored costs, as measures are still being negotiated before Biden departs Thursday for the G20 meeting in Rome. However, Donald Schneider, a former Chief Economist at the House Ways and Means Committee, who currently works for consultancy Cornerstone Macro, estimates that childcare and pre-kindergarten support will cost $ 465 billion over a decade. The one-year price tag for the extended child tax credit is approximately $ 120 billion. Credits will cost an additional $ 940 billion if renewed for another nine years.

It is not yet known what will survive the brutal parliamentary negotiations on Biden’s broad family services agenda, but the pandemic has proven to be the decisive catalyst for the future of the childcare industry.

Amy McCoy is burning up rapidly at Forever Young Day Care on Mount Lake Terrace, a suburb of Seattle.

She spent half of the year hiring a new assistant to raise her child at home, but until then, former public school teachers took care of their children 50 hours a week and cooked more. , Cleaning and management work. To run her business.

“At what point is my day care more important than my family?” McCoy asked.

One of McCoy’s assistants, who worked there for five years, quit his $ 19 hourly job in April and was working $ 35 an hour. McCoy posted the opening of an entry-level assistant on Indeed and Facebook, offering $ 16 per hour. This is almost 20% higher than the state minimum wage. She was almost unresponsive and everything turned down her salary, making it impossible to hire without increasing tuition.

“No one wants to work for what I can afford to pay now,” McCoy said. “I absolutely believe these are $ 20 employees per hour, but I probably hate having to raise tuition fees.”

The US Treasury said in a September report that childcare workers earn an average of $ 24,230. Over 15% of industry workers live below the poverty line in 41 states, and half need public assistance. Turnover rates in this sector are high, with 26% to 40% of employees leaving each year. Also, there is not much room to give among daycare centers that tend to operate with a profit of less than 1%.

In nearby Edmonds, Brianna McFadden closed her business, the Cocoon Child Care Center, last month due to pandemic stress, but McFadden said she would have government subsidies to stabilize the industry. I think it would have remained open.

McFadden said the 12-year project has never raised tuition fees and that state-subsidized low-income families are rarely accepted in the wealthy suburbs of northern Seattle. In the pre-pandemic era, Cocoon hired seven people to care for 37 children. McFadden is currently planning to open a convenience store.

“It wasn’t really worth the effort,” McFadden said, and her voice quivered emotionally. “Day care is a tough job.”

Tatum Russell’s livelihood relied on McFadden’s day care as much as a restaurant that hired McFadden to hand-bread seafood.

During the COVID-19-related daycare closure in August, one mother was able to tie in help from relatives for some time. Russell eventually had to miss four days of work.

“It was a nightmare, and it’s not over,” Russell said.


Boak reported from Washington DC

Exacerbated by pandemic, childcare crisis hinders economy | Work

Source link Exacerbated by pandemic, childcare crisis hinders economy | Work

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