Untapped Potential UTAH 011223 DIGITAL


November 15, 2023


A stronger understanding of how childcare breakdowns impact working parents, their employers, and the state economy is necessary to explore the depths of the issue. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation partnered with United Way of Salt Lake, Voices of Utah Children, and the Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce on this report to better understand the unique needs of working parents in Utah and examine the current childcare landscape.

Childcare is crucial to Utah’s economic infrastructure and provides a stable foundation for Utah to continue to thrive as a business environment. U.S. News & World Report ranked Utah 3rd for Best Growth in 2022 and Forbes ranked Utah the number one State for GDP Growth in 2021. In September of 2022 Utah had an unemployment rate of 2.1%, second only to Minnesota. As the state continues to push for job growth, childcare is a central aspect of a parent’s ability to participate in the labor force. Utah ranks 7th in labor force participation compared to the rest of the country, but without suitable childcare options, some Utah parents may not be able to continue their participation in the labor force.

Childcare is crucial for Utahʼs economic infrastructure and provides a stable foundation for Utah to continue to thrive as a business environment.

Our report estimates how often parents leave the workforce or educational opportunities because of insufficient childcare, as well as how often they are missing work or school due to childcare issues. We use this data to model a conservative estimate of the direct financial impact of breakdowns in childcare for Utah’s economy. The results highlight the value of access to childcare for families and any proposed solution must be developed to be responsive to the distinct challenges of Utah. The complexity of childcare challenges will not be fixed by a single sector, rather it will require collaboration across sectors. Partnerships between early education advocates and the business community are vital to ensure that Utah’s children, families, businesses, and economy are strong. It is our hope that this report and the data it presents will create opportunities for partnerships and cooperation that further the potential of Utah.

Key Findings:

  • The Utah economy loses an estimated $1.36 billion annually due to childcare issues
  • Absences and employee turnover due to childcare cost Utah employers an estimated $1.10 billion per year
  • Utah loses an estimated $258 million annually in tax revenue due to childcare issues