Updated Feb 19, 2022 - Economy & Business

Child care squeeze fuels Great Resignation

Illustrated collage of a stressed woman with mask on surrounded by school books, a crying child, a laptop, and a cell phone with a virus image on the screen
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

There's a gender gap in the Great Resignation, with women quitting their jobs at higher rates than men.

Between the lines: That gender gap is widest in the states with the most child care disruptions, according to a new report from the payroll company Gusto.

The big picture: Nationally, 4.1% of women quit their jobs in January compared with 3.4% of men — a 0.7 percentage point difference.

  • But in Maine and Rhode Island — where around 45% of families reported COVID-related child care disruptions in the Census Household Pulse Survey — the gender gap swelled to 1.7 percentage points, Gusto found.
  • At the same time, in Missouri and Arizona — where less than 25% of households said child care was disrupted — the gender gap was close to zero.

What's happening: As we've reported, women are far likelier than men to take on additional tasks like child care and housework while working from home. These burdens have pushed mothers across America out of the workforce.

  • Now, as Omicron cases fall, schools are reopening. But many child care centers have closed down due to COVID pressures, like staff shortages and lockdowns. And the availability of affordable, high-quality child care remains a growing problem.

The bottom line: Employers will have to beef up child care benefits to draw scores of parents — especially mothers — back to work.

Editor's note: This story originally published on Feb. 16.

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