October 12, 2023


The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation partnered with the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce and Excel by Eight Foundations to understand how much breakdowns in childcare are currently costing Arkansas.

The Southeast is one of the fastest growing regions in the nation and Arkansas unemployment rate is well below the national average at slightly over 4%. Having a dynamic and competitive labor force increases the incentive to focus on supporting childcare efforts in the state. As the population increases, finding and affording childcare will become an even larger issue for parents who are eager to enter the workforce. Without suitable childcare options, many Arkansans will be forced to exit the workforce, which has negative financial impacts on their household and the limits the talent pool available to businesses in an already tight labor environment.

Arkansas employers lose an estimated $865 milliion annually due to absences and employee turnover

Our report estimates how often parents are missing work or educational opportunities because of insufficient childcare. With that information in hand, we model the financial impact to the Arkansas economy to understand the untapped economic potential due to childcare breakdowns. The results highlight the challenges facing families with young children and clearly show the need for flexible access to high-quality, affordable care. It is essential that any proposed solution be developed by and tailored to the unique needs and distinct challenges of each community, and directly address the issues of access, affordability, and quality.

Key findings in Arkansas:

  • An estimated $200 million is lost annually in tax revenue due to childcare issues
  • Approximately 11% of parents voluntarily left a job due to childcare issues.
  • Thirty-four percent of respondents reported that they or someone in their household has left a job, not taken a job, or greatly changed jobs because of problems with childcare in the last 12 months.
  • Seventy-six percent of parents who voluntarily leave their jobs do so when their child(ren) is two years old or younger, indicating that childcare for infants and toddlers is the greatest need.