Day Cares Experience a Rush of Inquiries as Workforce Rebounds in Arizona

by Cole Lauterbach


A combination of the COVID-19 pandemic separating employees from their day care outlets and new workers moving in has parents in Arizona facing a shortage of places to keep their young children while they work.

Day cares around the country saw their clientele vanish when the pandemic laid off millions of parents who paid handsomely for their children to learn while they worked.

A December study by the National Association for the Education of Young Children found 54% of day cares in Arizona were losing money by staying open for the significantly diminished number of children they were serving. A July 2020 report from KPHO in Phoenix found the state had only 76,000 child care slots available, down from about 171,000 before the pandemic.

Now that parents are going back to work, the demand for child care is increasing.

“On Winnie’s child care search platform, we have seen a dramatic increase in searches in the Phoenix metro area, said Anne Halsall, co-founder and CPO of Winnie, a child care search aggregator that helps parents find local options. “As a share of all major U.S. metros, demand in Phoenix has grown over 300% in the past two years.”

The shortage also is fueled by Maricopa County’s increasing population of working age parents who are following opportunities into the valley. According to the Small Business Index by Paychex Inc., Arizona was second to only Texas in the growth of small business employment in September.

The combination of a business-friendly environment and a rapidly-increasing customer base has national child care outlets such as Atlanta-based Primrose Schools looking to expand their footprint in Arizona.

“Entrepreneurship and small businesses are thriving in Arizona. As these sectors continue to grow, the state’s workforce requires sufficient child care options to sustain this economic development,” Primrose Schools President Steve Clemente told The Center Square. “Primrose Schools is expanding throughout the region to ensure local families have access to additional premium early education and care options and support this exciting growth in Arizona.”

With 11 locations operating in the Phoenix metro area and additional opportunities throughout the state, Clemente said Arizona is proving itself to be a particularly strong market.

“Trends such as those noted by Paychex, Inc., which identify Arizona as the U.S. leader in small business growth, help validate the increasing demand for child care that comes with a growing workforce,” Clemente said. “Therefore, the low cost of doing business in Arizona is just one of many benefits to becoming a Primrose franchise owner, in addition to the potential for better work-life balance and a sense of purpose in your career.”

Clemente said many of their franchise locations, including those in Arizona, are forced to put parents on waitlists because of outsized demand.

– – –

Cole Lauterbach is a regional editor for The Center Square covering Arizona, California, Oregon, and Washington. For more than a decade, Cole has produced award-winning content on both radio and television.




Related posts