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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.

28 U.S. citizens depart Afghanistan on Qatar Airways flight

Passengers board a Qatar Airways aircraft bound to Qatar at the airport in Kabul on September 10, 2021. Photo: Aamir Qureshi/AFP via Getty Images

The State Department on Saturday confirmed that a Qatar Airways charter flight left Kabul on Friday with 28 U.S. citizens and seven lawful permanent residents on board.

The big picture: Friday's flight is the third such airlift by Qatar Airways since the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan, AP reports.

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Smaller than expected "Justice for J6" rally met with large police presence

Police officers watch as demonstrators gather for the "Justice for J6" rally in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 18, 2021. Photo: Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images

A few hundred demonstrators were met by a heavy law enforcement presence on Saturday at the "Justice for J6" rally outside the fenced-off U.S. Capitol, AP reports.

The latest: Four people were arrested at the rally, including one person with a gun, one with a knife and two with outstanding warrants, per the U.S. Capitol Police.

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