Rate of Austin new mothers in the workforce bounces back post COVID
The percentage of Austin metro-area women who recently gave birth and remain part of the workforce is growing again after COVID, per new census data.
- That's true for new dads, too — but women tend to bear the brunt of work/life priority changes brought on by parenthood.
Why it matters: Motherhood often knocks women out of the labor force, at least temporarily — contributing to the gender pay gap.
By the numbers: 68% of Austin-area women who gave birth in the previous 12 months were in the labor force as of 2022, per the latest American Community Survey data.
- The metro saw a COVID-era dip in 2021 to 63.2% from a high of 69.4% in 2019.
Flashback: About 1 million working mothers were estimated to have stopped working during the pandemic.
The big picture: Nationally, the percentage of women who recently gave birth and remained in the workforce reached a decade-plus high-water mark last year at 66.6% — up from 61.6% in 2010.
Between the lines: One complicating factor in all of this: the skyrocketing cost of child care, which is driven in part by a lack of supply and low caretaker pay.
Yes, and: Vital pandemic-era federal funding for child care centers is about to dry up, likely deepening the affordability crisis as supply is further outstripped by demand.
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