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The Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on the Child Care Industry and Workforce

Publication Date
Gilbert Crouse, Robin Ghertner, Nina Chien

This brief explores important trends in the child care industry during the first two years of the COVID-19 pandemic and places those trends in a historical context. Specifically, we find:

  • Nationally, child care employment as of September 2022 has not returned to pre-pandemic levels, with significant variation at the state level.
  • States where the child care industry was hit hardest in the spring of 2020 also saw slower recovery.
  • While the number of child care establishments increased since before the pandemic, the number of employees per establishment decreased.
  • Average hourly earnings for child care workers were higher in August 2022 than before the pandemic earnings, due to increases in non-supervisory workers’ earnings.

Maternal labor force participation declined during the pandemic, possibly as both a driver and a consequence of decreased employment in the child care industry.

Product Type
ASPE Issue Brief
Children | Women | Youth | Caregivers | Families with Children | Unemployed & Underemployed
Location- & Geography-Based Data
National Data | State Data
Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) | Child Care Development Fund (CCDF) | Head Start