Lack of Affordable Child Care Hinders Small Business Growth, Goldman Sachs Survey Reveals

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NEW YORK — A new survey from Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Voices has highlighted a critical barrier to small business growth: the lack of affordable and accessible child care. This issue significantly affects business owners and their employees across the nation.

Survey Findings

The survey reveals that 84% of small business owners believe it is difficult for working parents to afford high-quality child care. Among these, 66% describe it as very difficult, while 18% say it is somewhat difficult. Only 2% report no difficulty at all in affording child care.

More than half of the respondents (57%) indicate a shortage of high-quality, affordable child care programs in their communities. This problem forces over one-third (35%) of employees to cut their work hours or even quit their jobs entirely due to child care challenges.

The impact extends beyond individual families. About 38% of business owners say the lack of child care negatively affects their ability to operate or grow their businesses. Moreover, 62% believe that offering child care benefits would significantly improve talent recruitment and retention.

Potential Solutions

Small business owners are eager for policy solutions. The survey shows that 77% support increasing federal funding for child care programs. Additionally, 70% advocate for legislation to raise the tax credit available to businesses providing child care from $150,000 to $500,000.

Addressing the Child Care Crisis

This issue extends into the political arena. According to the survey, 55% of small business owners feel that access to affordable child care has not been adequately addressed by 2024 candidates. This sentiment underscores the need for policymakers to consider child care as a pivotal issue affecting economic stability and growth.

Dawn Kelly, owner of The Nourish Spot in Queens, NY, highlights the real-world impact on small businesses. “Small business owners like me are grappling with workforce challenges directly tied to the lack of affordable, quality child care,” she said. “This childcare crisis is weighing down our businesses and our employees. The ability to offer child care benefits would be a significant first step in helping our businesses compete and grow.”

Jill McCarthy, National Director of Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Voices, echoes this concern. “Small business owners have made clear that the child care crisis is exacerbating the biggest challenge they’re facing right now – hiring and retaining qualified employees,” she said. Ensuring that these voices are heard by elected officials at all levels of government is a priority for her organization.

Sarah Rittling, Executive Director of the First Five Years Fund, adds another dimension to the discussion. “When child care is hard to find or impossible to afford, it doesn’t just affect working families. Child care challenges are business challenges,” she said.

Urgent Call for Affordable Child Care Solutions Among Small Business Owners

The nationwide survey, conducted between April 15-19, 2024, included 1,259 small business owners from 47 U.S. states, Puerto Rico, and Washington, D.C. These findings highlight an urgent need for systemic solutions to make child care more affordable and accessible, which would, in turn, support small business growth and economic stability.

As the debate continues, small business owners and advocates will likely push harder for legislative and policy changes to address this pressing issue. The survey results emphasize that solving the child care crisis could provide a significant boost to both small businesses and working families across the country.

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