Missouri Job Center staff say workforce shortage could be from childcare issues

Published: Feb. 23, 2023 at 5:08 PM CST
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - The job market is wide open in Greene County and across the nation. Childcare waitlists could be keeping many families at home.

Data from the Missouri Department of Labor, said Missouri’s unemployment rate is nearly three percent.

Now, the Missouri job center shows more than 1,600 jobs open in Greene County from last July. Missouri Job Center spokesperson Katherine Trombetta said it’s a tough choice for parents, going to work or caring for children at home.

“Childcare does remain to be an issue, both here in Missouri and nationally,” said Trombettea. “We have fewer childcare providers than we did before the pandemic.”

Trombetta said a lack of childcare is keeping some out of the workforce.

She said in Greene County, there are two open jobs for every person looking.

“One parent has to make the decision to stay home and care for their children,” said Trombetta. “There aren’t as many daycare slots available.”

That’s the case for many families here in Springfield.

Jennifer Davis owns a licensed at-home daycare called Little Steps, Big Dreams Daycare. She said she is full.

“I actually have some on a waiting list for 2024,” said Davis.

Davis said she never wants to deny anyone, but every kid needs good care.

“I can only handle so many by myself,” said Davis.

She said there aren’t enough daycares in Greene County, and many have waiting lists.

Trombetta said there are many remote or rideshare and delivery jobs if you’re in a pinch.

“Very much in demand,” said Trombetta. “Those jobs are highly sought out, especially for people who are maybe facing difficulties in finding childcare.”

Davis said this is a hard time getting into childcare, and if you have more than one child, she suggests staying home with them.

“Stay home with their kids because it’d be more affordable, and they can make an income,” said Davis. “But daycare is expensive right now.”

To help ease the labor shortage, Trombetta said the department of labor set aside $3 million for apprenticeships. It gets people earning money and learning rather than doing it alone. This could be healthcare, public safety, education, and more. Call (417) 841-3381 for more.

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