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It's Time to Care: The Economic Case for Investing in a Care Infrastructure

>> Read report published by Times Up

Public investment in paid care work across the life cycle, spanning child care, residential care, and home health care, is urgently needed to meet the current labor market crisis caused by the pandemic, as well as to solve the structural challenges in the provision of care that have impeded women’s ability to participate in the U.S. labor force. Building a robust care infrastructure would shore up recovery efforts by creating millions of jobs for the disproportionate number of women, especially women of color, hit by this crisis and by allowing family caregivers to return to the labor force. In addition, job gains would be concentrated in sectors where workers will spend their increased wages on goods and services, creating positive ripple effects that will strengthen the U.S. economy.

In our analysis, we model the effect of a $77.5 billion annual public investment divided across the child care, residential care, and home health care sectors. In this methodology, job creation can happen in three ways:

  • Directly as a result of increased economic activity in a given industry;
  • Indirectly, via new jobs in adjacent industries that supply goods to the field where the spending first occurred (e.g., increased caregiving activity might increase the demand for medical supplies, creating jobs in that sector); and
  • Through induced job creation, which models how increased consumer spending as a result of direct and indirect job creation supports additional employment (e.g., if a caregiver becomes employed, they may spend more at her local restaurant, inducing that restaurant to hire more staff.) (Pollin et al. 2009).
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