The child care crisis is forcing parents to leave the workforce
2 Jun 2023
Recently released economic indicators for Nebraska’s workforce are missing a critical data point. Having the highest labor participation in the nation does little good if there are only 42 workers available for every 100 open jobs in our state, as indicated in recent data from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. As of March 2023, there were 65,000 job openings in Nebraska.
With the state’s unemployment rate now down to 2.1% and Nebraska experiencing a severe labor shortage, who has left the workforce matters. A recent survey from Nebraska Extension and We Care for Kids shows that almost a third of parents with children ages 5 and under (and 23% of all parents) left the workforce because they couldn’t find affordable child care.
Quality early childhood education is a big part of how Nebraska thrives. Skilled early childhood educators prepare children for school. Families can work knowing their children are in the safe, loving and supportive care of a quality early childhood educator. It provides Nebraska’s employers with the talent they need to succeed now and in the future. Yet, Nebraska is facing an early childhood care and education crisis. Almost every county in the state (91%) with licensed child care programs does not have enough places to meet demand, and families in 11 counties do not have access to licensed child care programs.