October 12, 2023


The U.S. Chamber Foundation partnered with the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry on this report to better understand the unique needs of working parents in Missouri and examine the current childcare landscape.

Missouri’s unemployment rate is well below the national average at slightly over 4 percent. While a competitive labor force points to a strong and improving economy, it also creates incentive for local governments and businesses to increase their support for access to childcare. Without suitable childcare options, many Missouri parents will be forced to exit the workforce. Aside from the negative financial impacts these decisions have on households and the state’s economy, fewer workers also put pressure on businesses that are already struggling to attract and retain employees in a tight labor environment.

Missouri's economy loses an estimated $1.35 billion annually due to childcare issues

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 Missouri 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 Missouri:

  • An estimated $280 million is lost annually in tax revenue due to childcare issues
  • Approximately 9 percent of parents voluntarily left a job due to childcare issues
  • Twenty-eight 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
  • Fifty-seven 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