This brief explores important trends in the child care industry during the first two years of the COVID-19 pandemic and places those trends in a historical context. Specifically, we find:
- Nationally, child care employment as of September 2022 has not returned to pre-pandemic levels, with significant variation at the state level.
- States where the child care industry was hit hardest in the spring of 2020 also saw slower recovery.
- While the number of child care establishments increased since before the pandemic, the number of employees per establishment decreased.
- Average hourly earnings for child care workers were higher in August 2022 than before the pandemic earnings, due to increases in non-supervisory workers’ earnings.
Maternal labor force participation declined during the pandemic, possibly as both a driver and a consequence of decreased employment in the child care industry.