Lack of child care is a billion-dollar problem for the NC economy

June 17. [Updated] A statewide report estimates that insufficient child care availability is costing North Carolina $5.65 billion in lost economic activity each year.

The U.S. Chamber Foundation, in partnership with the NC Chamber Foundation and NC Child, commissioned a survey of 517 North Carolina parents with children under the age of six. Survey results were then used to model an estimate of the direct financial impact of insufficient child care coverage on North Carolina’s economy.

NEW: NC House leadership unveiled a budget proposal Monday night that would raise teacher salaries, fully fund Opportunity scholarships and provide $135 million in child care stabilization grants.


Child care-related employee turnover and absenteeism costs North Carolina employers an estimated $4.29 billion per year.

North Carolina misses an estimated $1.36 billion annually in tax revenue due to turnover and absence costs stemming from child care issues.

More than a third of all parents that experienced disruptions to their employment in the past year reported leaving the workforce as a direct result of issues with child care.

Looking ahead

Over the next 12 months, 15 percent of working parents are planning to leave employment over the next 12 months, or 18 percent of women and 13 percent of men.


“The health of North Carolina’s economy is directly tied to the strength of its workforce. This survey shows that our state is not realizing its potential when it comes to both families and economic competitiveness,” said Meredith Archie, President, NC Chamber Foundation. “Affordable, quality child care supports working parents on the job, allows businesses to recruit and retain talent, and helps North Carolina children develop skills for success in school and life. The NC Chamber Foundation will continue to provide research to inform North Carolina leaders on this issue and support the business community in providing sustainable, long-term solutions.”

What’s next?

From NC NewsLine: All eyes will be on the North Carolina House this week as leadership prepares to roll out its recommended budget adjustments for the coming year. A looming and unanswered question remains whether the House (and the Senate) will agree to appropriate $300 million to keep North Carolina’s child care facilities open when federal stabilization grants sunset at the end of this month.


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