The early care and education sector suffered massive job losses due to COVID-19, exacerbating a workforce crisis that existed long before the onset of the pandemic. Recovery has been slow and is challenged as teachers walk away for higher pay at Target, Amazon, and the hardware store.
Since the pandemic began, jobs held by women are 96 percent of pre-pandemic levels recorded in February 2020. In contrast, child care jobs, held almost exclusively by women, have returned at a slower pace, and are just 88% of what they were in February 2020.
Recently, some state and metro areas have seen child care employment begin to fall again. For example, the New York City metro area saw a 13 percent decrease in child care jobs between June and July 2021. During this same period, New York state child care jobs decreased by six percent, as did child care jobs in the Los Angeles metro area. Massachusetts declined by ten percent and is now 66% of pre-pandemic child care job levels.