New Study Identifies Nearly $500 Million in Annual Economic Opportunity for Idaho

February 28, 2020

Takeaways

Childcare issues result in an estimated $479 million loss annually for Idaho’s economy.
About 50% of parents in Idaho reported missing work due to childcare issues.

U.S. Chamber Foundation Report Estimates $65 Million in Lost Tax Revenue Due to Inadequate Childcare 

WASHINGTON, D.C. (February 28, 2020) – The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation today released a new report examining the impact of childcare issues on Idaho’s state economy. The report is part of a broader “Untapped Potential” study of four U.S. states – Idaho, Iowa, Mississippi, and Pennsylvania – that reveals the cost of childcare challenges and opportunities to unlock economic potential for states and employers. 

The study found that Idaho misses an estimated $479 million annually for the state’s economy. This number includes a $65 million annual loss in tax revenue as well as an annual loss to Idaho’s employers of $414 million on absences and employee turnover as a result of childcare breakdowns.  

“Lack of readily available quality childcare is a glaring problem for our state’s continued progress. It is a barrier to economic productivity and a sometimes insurmountable obstacle for our citizens’ success,” said Alex LaBeau, president of the Idaho Association of Commerce and Industry. “Clearly, Idaho’s problem is one of a lack of infrastructure, but our members are already taking steps to rectify that in their communities. We look forward to engaging in a larger discussion of how Idaho will build its infrastructure to ensure families and businesses can be successful.” 

Key findings include:  

  • Childcare issues result in a total estimated $479 million annual loss for Idaho’s economy. 
    • The state misses out on an estimated $65 million annually in tax revenue due to childcare issues. 
    • Absences and employee turnover cost Idaho employers a further estimated $414 million per year. 
  • Over 90% of surveyed parents in Idaho rely on family members for at least some childcare. 
  • About half of parents in Idaho reported missing work due to childcare issues in the past 3 months. 
  • Approximately a quarter of enrolled parents in Iowa postponed school or a training program due to childcare issues.  

“Each state's challenges are unique–as are their childcare systems, and the diversity of their employers–so the solutions that tackle these challenges must be unique as well,” said Cheryl Oldham, senior vice president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Center for Education and Workforce. “To solve this complex issue, it will take a collaboration of partners, including federal and state investment, support from the business community, philanthropic organizations, and expertise from early education advocates and providers.” 

The report was unveiled as part of a series of economic studies of Iowa, Idaho, Mississippi, and Pennsylvania at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s national Early Ed Summit at the Chamber of Commerce in Washington, D.C. The Summit hosted workforce leaders and early education advocates to discuss the economic impact of childcare breakdowns, unique challenges faced by each state, and the role of business in solving this childcare crisis.  

To access the full reports, videos, report methodology, and other resources, visit: uschamberfoundation.org/UntappedPotential 


About the U.S. Chamber Foundation 
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation is dedicated to strengthening America’s long-term competitiveness. We educate the public on the conditions necessary for business and communities to thrive, how business positively impacts communities, and emerging issues and creative solutions that will shape the future.  

About the U.S. Chamber of Commerce 
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world’s largest business federation representing the interests of more than 3 million businesses of all sizes, sectors, and regions, as well as state and local chambers and industry associations.