The City: Women With Children Having Harder Time Re-entering NYC Workforce


November 22, 2021

A new study shows 41% of women living with kids in NYC are not working compared to 24% of men with children — a lingering effect of remote school and a perpetual child care challenge.

 

The pandemic recession recovery isn’t reaching New York City mothers who face steep challenges in breaking back into the workforce — underscoring a growing child care crisis, a new report from a children’s advocacy group found.

The report by the nonprofit Citizens’ Committee for Children, shared with The Fuller Project and THE CITY, found that 41% of 25- to 54-year-old women living with children in the New York metropolitan area were not working between April and July.

That 41% was an improvement over the 50% of women who had reported being out of work at the peak of the pandemic economic shutdowns a year earlier. But male parents’ employment made a much bigger recovery, the report found, with the share of dads out of the workforce dropping from 45% to 24%.

“Women and women of color are really being very hard hit on many levels, like income loss, job loss and being pulled out of the workforce due to child care responsibilities,” said Jennifer March, the group’s executive director. “It seems like their recovery is slow right now.”

The Census numbers showed women who reported being Hispanic/Latino as the likeliest to report not working, at 55%. Among Black non-Hispanic women, 46% reported not working, while that figure was 39% Among Asian non-Hispanic women and 36% among white non-Hispanic women.

Making Child Care Flexible

The Citizens Committee for Children culled the data from the Census Bureau’s Household Pulse Survey, an effort by the Census Bureau to take demographic snapshots of the pandemic’s effect.

The New York City women surveyed between April 23 and July 5 were two and a half times more likely than men in the same age range to list child care as the primary reason for being out of the workforce, according to the analysis.

For Yansy Henriquez of the Bronx, balancing the cost of child care with how much she earns at a local beauty salon has made her question her ability to stay in the workforce.

To afford the nearly $800-a-month price tag of her baby’s day care during the pandemic, Henriquez cut down on internet, cable, her cell phone plan, clothing and even food.

And despite being quickly accepted into affordable child care programs for her older children over a decade ago, she said she has never even received a response from city programs for her 1-year-old daughter.

“Is there not a way to make child care more flexible for low-income moms?” Henriquez, 39, asked in Spanish. “Because I know that all those mothers who have child care, they’re going out looking for jobs and working. But if not, if they don’t have help, they can’t.”

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