The number of women of childbearing age in the labor force and the number of children under age five are both expected to rise over the next 10 years. The share of children being cared for by parents or other relatives is likely to decline. These trends will increase the demand for paid child care. Growth in demand will be moderated somewhat by an increasing number of states investing in early childhood education programs.
There is evidence of a current shortage of day care. According to a report from the Oregon Child Care Research Partnership (Child Care and Education in Oregon and Its Counties: 2014), the supply of child care spots was 17 per 100 children under 13 years old. In order to meet demand, 25 spots per hundred children were needed. This shortage was particularly acute for children with special needs, infants and toddlers, and evening care for children of parents who work late shifts.
Child care and early education is important to today's workforce – in that it allows parents to be present at work – and it is important to tomorrow's workforce as quality child care gives the next generation a solid start in their education. Additional research from the Oregon Child Care Research Partnership (Oregon Early Learning Workforce), shows that turnover among regulated child care facilities far exceeds turnover at K-12 schools, with 24 percent of the child care workforce turning over between 2013 and 2014, compared with a national turnover rate in K-12 education of 8 percent annually.
The child care industry has grown in response to the increasing numbers of families in which both parents work, and to the increasing number of households headed by women. Employment in child day care businesses with employees grew 30 percent from 2005 to 2015 – matching the growth rate in the larger industry sector of health care and social assistance. All-industry employment grew just 8 percent from 2005 to 2015.
Supply of day care currently is not meeting potential demand. Improved support of child care workers through professional development and retention strategies can improve both the availability and the quality of child care.
Read the full article "Oregon’s Child Care Industry" by Employment Economist Jessica Nelson.