Coronavirus Continues to Hinder Recovery of Childcare Job Postings
Babysitter/nanny job postings up from last year, but daycare jobs languish.
- The trend in childcare job postings on Indeed has improved since its nadir in late April, but is still below the overall job postings trend.
- The babysitter/nanny job postings trend is up 24% from last year, but daycare jobs are down 24%.
- Childcare jobs are recovering more slowly in metros with higher shares of work-from-home occupations, probably because when at least one parent is at home, demand for childcare falls.
One of the keys to full economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic is childcare. Many parents are working from home full time while also watching their kids around the clock. Meanwhile, those still reporting to work in person now have reduced childcare options. With social distancing still part of life and many schools shifting to remote learning, the strain on parents is mounting and no end is in sight. To get perspective on this, we analyzed the trend for childcare job postings on Indeed.com compared with a year earlier.
Childcare job postings trend improving
The good news is that childcare job postings have regained a lot of the ground lost earlier in the pandemic. When the crisis began, many daycare and preschool facilities shuttered, similar to restaurants and hair salons. The Indeed childcare job postings trend took a direct hit, reaching a low point on April 30, when they were 63% below their level a year before. Since then, the childcare postings trend has bounced back substantially. By August 28, it had climbed back to 24% below the same date in 2019.
Nevertheless, pandemic-related problems persist. For example, coronavirus may be making childcare less affordable. Parents now have fewer childcare choices because some daycare facilities have shut permanently. Additionally, newly reopened childcare centers lost revenue earlier this year and now face added expenses, including bigger cleaning bills and frequent temperature checks.
A bright spot for babysitter/nanny jobs
Importantly, coronavirus is affecting different kinds of childcare jobs in very different ways. In particular, babysitter/nanny job postings are up 24% relative to last year’s trend, while the daycare job postings trend is down 24%.
This is evidence of high demand for what might be called a bespoke approach to childcare during coronavirus. Parents are concerned about exposing children to the virus. When a child is with a group of kids, such as in a daycare facility, the chance of contracting COVID is higher than when exposure is limited to a nanny or babysitter at home.
Childcare sluggish in high work-from-home metros
Childcare also shows how the economic turmoil from coronavirus varies geographically. In metros with higher shares of jobs that can be done from home, the childcare jobs trend has recovered more slowly than in other metros. The divergence emerged in mid-May and has expanded since. As of August 28, the childcare postings trend in high work-from-home metros was 33% below the same time last year compared with 22% below in other metros.
This trend of childcare job postings recovering more slowly in higher work-from-home metros holds even when COVID case variation is taken into account. As a metro’s work-from-home percentage increases, the childcare job postings trend falls regardless of COVID case numbers.
COVID undoubtedly affects parents’ comfort with childcare options outside the home. Despite moms and dads being pushed to the brink, more parents staying at home reduces demand for childcare jobs and slows hiring. Parents’ top priority is to shield their kids from exposure to the virus. But this puts parents in a bind, especially those who can’t work remotely. Childcare is essential if they are to continue to work, but their options today are more limited. The problem is compounded in high work-from-home metros, where recovery of childcare job postings lags.
The childcare job postings trend trails the overall job postings trend, though childcare postings have recovered significantly from their low point in late April. However, not all childcare jobs are faring the same. Babysitter/nanny job postings are up substantially from a year ago, while daycare postings are down.
With coronavirus continuing to spread, some parents may not believe daycare is safe. For those who can afford it, hiring a nanny may seem like a lower-risk alternative. At the same time, fewer childcare choices are available and many parents struggle to find an affordable option they are comfortable with. The shortage of options is worse in high work-from-home metros, where childcare job postings trends have recovered more slowly. Safe, affordable childcare is essential for a full economic recovery. It’s simply not sustainable for parents to work from home while supervising — and sometimes teaching — their kids.
Daycare and nanny/babysitter jobs were identified using a curated list of job titles. Metros analyzed had a minimum population of 250,000. COVID case numbers are from daily counts of COVID19 cases compiled and reported by the New York Times based on reports from state and local health agencies. Regressions are weighted by population.
Work-from-home metros were identified using American Community Survey data on county employment by occupation and Jonathan Dingel and Brett Neiman’s analysis of whether occupations can be done from home. These yielded estimates of the share of a metropolitan area’s jobs that can be done from home. The national average is 37%. In this post, we designated “work-from-home metros” as those with shares of 45% or higher.
To measure job postings trends, we calculated the seven-day moving average of the number of US job postings on Indeed. We indexed each day’s seven-day moving average to the start of that year (Feb 1, 2020 = 100 for 2020 data, and so on) or another date if specified in the chart.
We report how the trend in job postings this year differs from last year’s trend in order to focus on recent changes in labor market conditions due to COVID-19. For example, if job postings for a country increased 30% from February 1, 2019, to May 22, 2019, but only 20% from February 1, 2020, to May 22, 2020, then the index would have risen from 100 to 130 in 2019 and 100 to 120 in 2020. The year-to-date job postings trend would therefore be down 7.7% on May 22 (120 is 7.7% below 130) in 2020 relative to 2019.
AnnElizabeth Konkel is an Economist on the Indeed Hiring Lab who focuses on the US labor market. She previously worked at DAI, an international development company. AnnElizabeth holds an M.A. in International Economics at American University’s School of International Service and holds a B.A. in history from Mount Holyoke College.