Child Care Is Key to Mississippi’s Economic Recovery From COVID-19
The pandemic has negatively impacted the female workforce
The COVID-19 pandemic disproportionately impacted women’s employment across the nation and in Mississippi. In the first quarter of 2021, female workforce participation nationwide was at its lowest rate in more than 30 years, and it is not expected to fully rebound to pre-pandemic levels until late 2024. Ensuring that women participate in the workforce is key to Mississippi’s economic recovery. Lack of child care was an important driver of women exiting the workforce, as both schools and child care providers closed, and many mothers left work to care for their children.
A national ReadyNation survey of more than 400 senior business leaders found that, while about two-thirds of employers are likely to expand child care supports offered to their employees post-COVID, many cited barriers to doing so. More than three-quarters of respondents said that federal or state government incentives, including tax credits, would increase the likelihood that their company would expand the child care supports offered to employees. However, businesses alone cannot solve the child care crisis.
Employer incentives must be coupled with robust public investments, including subsidies to families with low incomes and direct assistance to child care providers. For our state’s economy to thrive, ensuring working families’ access to affordable, quality child care must be of paramount concern. Business leaders and policymakers must partner to address the child care crisis, to facilitate women participating in the workforce.