FACTSHEET: BUILD BACK BETTER INVESTMENTS IN CARE WILL GROW ECONOMY, CREATE JOBS, PROMOTE EQUITY

POLLING: 79% of Voters Support Investing in Long-Term Care for Seniors

The coronavirus pandemic has exposed and exacerbated pre-existing cracks and inequities in the caregiving economy. America needs a robust investment in family-friendly care infrastructure that works for the millions of people who need care and support, those who have had to leave the workforce to become unpaid caregivers, and for the paid caregivers who have been historically undervalued.

Not only are investments in care extremely important to make life more affordable for hard-working Americans, they are also critical to the success of American businesses and the long-term growth of the economy.

The daily costs of failing to pass legislation to make child care more affordable are staggering.

  • Every day that the U.S. fails to make child care affordable, parents will continue to lose $82-$95 million in income to pay for child care.

  • Mothers leaving the labor force and reducing work hours in order to assume caretaking responsibilities costs $176 million every day in lost wages and economic activity.

Instability and underinvestment in child care, long term and elder care, and our care workforce hurts our economy and has disproportionately affected women — primarily Black and Brown women. 

  • When the coronavirus hit, over 30 million people in America did not have access to a single paid sick day. Four in five workers had no paid family leave through their jobs.

  • Every year, families in the United States stand to lose $64.5 billion in wages to care for loved ones because they lack access to home care or paid leave.

  • Before the pandemic, parents forewent approximately $30-35 billion in income to pay for child care, translating into a loss of $4.2 billion in annual tax revenue.

  • Demographic shifts alone require adding 1.1 million more home care jobs to our economy by 2028, to support the aging of our population.

  • The lack of a care infrastructure continues to leave caregivers vulnerable to economic instability and greater financial strain, especially Black and immigrant women who disproportionately perform paid and unpaid care.

  • Domestic workers are three times as likely to be living in poverty as other workers.

  • By 2030, nearly one-fifth of the total US population will have reached the traditional retirement age of 65. If more workers don’t go into care work, we’ll have a national shortage of 350,000 paid care providers by 2040.

The pandemic has worsened these disparities.

  • More than 2.3 million women left the labor force in 2020, more than 600,000 of whom were Black and 618,000 of whom were Latina. Now, women’s participation in the labor force is the lowest it’s been since 1988.

  • Economists say women leaving the workforce can prevent the economy from growing by $30 trillion.

  • One in four women — at twice the rate of men — reported unemployment during the pandemic due to a lack of child care.

  • More women than men will face economic insecurity due to disproportionate time out of the workforce or having to cut their work hours.

  • Care providers have also suffered economic hardship — almost one in six child care jobs lost during the pandemic have not returned.

Investing in care infrastructure, like investing in physical infrastructure and clean energy, boosts the economy and creates new jobs. 

  • Going big on care infrastructure investments could support the creation of 3 million new jobs.

  • Social care investments have the potential to generate twice as many jobs as infrastructure spending and 50% more jobs than green energy development.

  • Family and medical leave programs will strengthen and solidify our economic growth. Mothers are 20-50% less likely to separate from the labor force five years after giving birth if they have access to paid leave.

  • Investments in care leads to equitable job growth, creating jobs for low-income households and improving the earnings of poor workers.

  • An investment of 2% of GDP in the care industry has the potential to reduce the gender gap in employment by half in the United States.

“Public investment in care would allow millions of family caregivers who have left the labor market, reduced their hours, or lost their jobs in 2020 to return to work, strengthening overall economic activity and ensuring that a generation of women’s labor market gains do not disappear.”

— Time’s Up

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