Child care has long-term impact

I can hardly wait to cheer on “our” home team, the Carolina Panthers, on Super Bowl Sunday! It is easy to see how having national sports teams feed our state’s economy. The money that the sports industry generates is obvious, and it clearly impacts many associated markets. Would you believe me if I told you that the child care industry in North Carolina generates more than $1.7 billion a year, and that figure is on par with the revenue generated by the spectator sports industry in North Carolina (think Carolina Panthers, Carolina Hurricanes and Charlotte Hornets)? I was pretty surprised to learn that fact, even though I am keenly aware of the economic infrastructure child care provides to our workforce. The Committee for Economic Development estimates that North Carolina’s child care industry supports an additional $1.3 billion in indirect and induced output to other industry sectors. A child care center is a small business that employs staff, pays taxes and supports other employers by providing care to the children of their employees. In North Carolina, there are 16,641 child care establishments serving nearly 500,000 children and providing nearly 50,000 jobs. Child care allows parents to work outside the home and is essential to the success of the state’s business sector. Employers report a decrease in absenteeism due to family issues (a cost of $2.75 billion each year to North Carolina businesses) and an increase in productivity when their employees have access to stable, quality child care. The Federal Reserve Bank has numerous bodies of research illustrating the economic impact early childhood investments have on our nation’s economy, and how...