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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

As the pandemic drags on, child care is not getting any easier for working parents, and more and more are hitting their limits and leaving their jobs, per a new report from the think tank Third Way, provided exclusively to Axios.

The big picture: Lack of child care is now the third-most cited reason for not working, behind layoffs and furloughs. At the very beginning of the pandemic, it was No. 5.

What's happening: Prices at child care centers have gone up nearly 50% since the onset of the pandemic due to increased sanitization and staffing costs, making them unaffordable for many Americans.

  • And the 56% of Americans who rely on relatives or grandparents to take care of their kids can no longer do so because it's unsafe.
  • So more and more parents — especially mothers — are dropping out of the labor force for their children.

Superstar cities are seeing big increases in labor market dropouts related to child care, Third Way found.

  • Since late April, New York has had 240,000 such cases; San Francisco, 50,000; Houston, 110,000.

Worth noting: The pandemic is hurting child care providers, too. 1 in 5 jobs in the child care industry — which disproportionately employs women of color — are now gone.

The bottom line: "The crumbling child care industry is increasingly holding back economic recovery across the country," writes Jillian McGrath, an economic policy adviser at Third Way.

Go deeper

Feb 23, 2021 - Health

California to provide $600 stimulus payments to 5.7 million people

Gov. Gavin Newsom during a Feb. 12 news conference in San Francisco. Photo: Gabrielle Lurie/Pool/The San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) has pledged to sign into law Tuesday a measure to provide some 5.7 million people with at least $600 in one-off payments as part of a state COVID-19 relief package.

Driving the news: State lawmakers on Monday overwhelmingly voted for the bill, designed to help people on lower incomes through the pandemic.

2 hours ago - World

Report: LGBTQ+ Afghans' lives "dramatically worsened" under Taliban rule

Taliban fighters in Kabul, Afghanistan, earlier this month. Photo: Mohd Rasfan/AFP via Getty Images

LGBTQ+ Afghans have been threatened, attacked and "faced an increasingly desperate situation and grave threats to their safety" since the Taliban seized control of Afghanistan last August, per a report published Wednesday.

What they're saying: "We spoke with LGBT Afghans who have survived gang rape, mob attacks, or have been hunted by their own family members who joined the Taliban, and they have no hope that state institutions will protect them," per a statement from study co-author J. Lester Feder.

3 hours ago - World

Canadian Indigenous group finds 93 suspected unmarked graves

A makeshift memorial honoring the 215 children whose remains were found in a mass grave in Brantford, Ontario, Canada, last May. Photo: Cole Burston/AFP via Getty Images

Indigenous leaders in Canada's western province of British Columbia said Tuesday they believe they've found 93 unmarked graves near a former boarding school.

The big picture: Hundreds of mass graves have been found at the grounds of former residential schools for Indigenous children since last May, when the remains of 215 children were uncovered at one such site in B.C.

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