Notice you’re spending a lot more time at home with your kids lately? Well, you’re not imagining things. Last month, the number of Americans who had to miss work because of child care disruptions hit an all-time recorded high.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, over 100,000 Americans had to stay home due to child care issues, more than at any point during the pandemic.
Most parents had likely hoped that once the COVID-19 pandemic slowed down, life would go back to normal. But, a troubling combination of spiking RSV, flu infections, and COVID-19 infections in young children combined with a child care labor shortage has created a nightmare for parents who rely on child care.
And while some families can afford to miss a few days from work, research suggests that Black families are disproportionately impacted by child care disruptions.
Prior to the pandemic, Black families were more than twice as likely as white families to say that child care issues caused them to quit their job, not take a job, or “greatly changed” their job.
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Black families are also less likely to have a financial cushion in the case of having to go without pay or losing employment. Not to mention that the timing of these child care disruptions is also troubling for Black families. An August NPR/ Robert Wood Johnson Foundation/ Harvard T.H Chan survey suggested that Black Americans were particularly impacted by high-levels of inflation.
Roughly 58 percent of Black adults reported not having enough money to cover at least one month of their expenses in the case of an emergency. And about 55 percent of Black adults reported facing serious financial problems during the period of record-high inflation.
Unless and until we get a full racial breakdown of the BLS data, we won’t know for certain how Black Americans are dealing with these massive child care disruptions. But, there’s definitely a lot of reason to be concerned about how Black families with handle the economic turmoil in their wake.