Employment recovery in the early care and education sector remains stagnant.

While some jobs returned, the workforce is 11 percent smaller than at the outset of the pandemic, as wages remain low. The median wage of child care workers is just $13.22 an hour.

Figure 1

-116k
Child care jobs lost since Feb 2020

89%
Percentage of child care jobs today compared to Feb 2020

Job numbers from selected states and metro areas continue to change each month. Notably, New York State, New York City, and Massachusetts show the greatest gains in the latest BLS report, while Texas saw a slight dip in employment numbers.  

Figure 2

Details on the data source

  • Data Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2021). Employment, Hours, and Earnings from the Current Employment Statistics survey. 
  • Current month’s jobs numbers are a preliminary estimate by BLS.  
  • These estimates include employees in the “child day care services” industry, which includes child care, Head Start, preschool and school-age care programs. The estimates include employees only and do not include self-employed workers, such as owners of home-based child care.
  • This employment data cannot be disaggregated by education, race/ethnicity, role, setting, or funding stream.
  • For the “child day care services” industry, estimates for a small number of states and cities are available, a selection of which are included here. The availability of state- or city-level estimates varies by industry, and the most recent month’s jobs numbers are a preliminary estimate by BLS. These data are released by BLS later in the month than national figures.