Childcare issues cost Utah economy $1.36 billion

SALT LAKE CITY — A report released Wednesday revealed that childcare is not only a drag on the budgets for many families, but it also accounts for a loss of $1.36 billion to the Utah economy.

“The results highlight the value of access to childcare for families and any proposed solution must be developed to be responsive to the distinct challenges of Utah,” a news release from United Way of Utah stated.

The Salt Lake Chamber and other local and national organizations compiled the report titled “Untapped Potential in Utah”. It showed 48,000 parents left the workforce last year because of problems with childcare. Also, 5% of parents have had to step away from their jobs regularly to address childcare problems.

Childcare issues cost Utah economy .36 billion

(Utah Chamber of Commerce Foundation)

Derek Miller, president and CEO of the Salt Lake Chamber said, “Parents are faced with tough choices, especially single parents who are often faced with the choice of are they going to participate in the labor force or are they going to take care of children at home if they don’t have other options.”

“Utah is a state that champions industry, and also family, and this requires innovative approaches to address our workforce challenges,” Miller added. “Childcare is crucial to Utah’s economic success now and provides a stable foundation for Utah to thrive as a top-tier business environment in the future.”

Other findings include:

  • Utah loses an estimated $258 million annually in tax revenue due to childcare issues
  • 26% of parents have changed their childcare arrangement due to COVID-19
  • In Utah, families pay an average of $561 per month for childcare
  • 48% of parents needed to make a significant adjustment to their school or work training due to childcare issues in the past 12 months

The report said there isn’t any single initiative that can resolve the issue and the answer must be the result of a collaborative process. Miller said, “By understanding the needs of parents and working to find public and private solutions, Utah will be better equipped to unlock the economic potential of parents whose employment and educational options are currently limited by their childcare circumstances.”

You can read the entire report here.

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