Jobs Aplenty, but a Shortage of Care Keeps Many Women From Benefiting
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A dearth of child care and elder care choices is causing many women to reorganize their working lives and prompting some to forgo jobs altogether, hurting the economy at a moment when companies are desperate to hire, and forcing trade-offs that could impair careers.

Care workers have left the industry in large numbers amid the pandemic, shrinking the number of nursery and nursing home employees by hundreds of thousands. At the same time, coronavirus outbreaks have led to intermittent school shutdowns, which, in turn, have made care demands less predictable and increased the need for reliable backup options.

Although plenty of men have also taken on increased care duties since the pandemic began, women perform most caregiving in America, according to the Labor Department. They have made a surprising return to the labor market in spite of that challenge.

The professional caregiving work force — also disproportionately female — hasn’t recovered. More than one child care worker in 10 hasn’t returned, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (although that data may not capture all the single-employee, home-based operators that make up a huge part of the sector). The number of nursing home workers remains 11.5 percent below its level in February 2020. Together, the two categories represent a loss of 500,000 jobs.

Read more or listen to the audio in the New York Times.

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