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Jobs Outlook: Childcare Workers




High replacement needs should create good job opportunities for childcare workers. Many childcare workers must be replaced each year as they leave the occupation to take other jobs, to meet family responsibilities, or for other reasons. Qualified persons who are interested in this work should have little trouble finding and keeping a job. Opportunities for nannies should be especially good, as many workers prefer not to work in other people’s homes.

Employment of childcare workers is projected to grow about as fast as the average for all occupations through the year 2012. The number of women of childbearing age (widely considered to be ages 15 to 44) in the labor force and the number of children under 5 years of age is expected to rise gradually over the projected 2002-12 period. Also, the proportion of youngsters enrolled full or part time in childcare and preschool programs is likely to continue to increase, spurring demand for additional childcare workers.

Changes in perceptions of preprimary education may lead to increased public and private spending on childcare. If more parents believe that some experience in center-based care and preschool is beneficial to children, enrollment will increase. Concern about the behavior of school-age children during nonschool hours should increase demand for before- and afterschool programs. In addition, the difficulty of finding suitable nannies or private household workers also may force many families to seek out alternative childcare arrangements in centers and family childcare programs. Government policy often favors increased funding of early childhood education programs, and that trend will probably continue. Government funding for before- and afterschool programs also is expected to be steady over the projection period. The growing availability of government-funded center-based care and preschool programs may induce some parents to enroll their children who otherwise would not do so. Some States also are increasing subsidization of the child daycare services industry in response to welfare reform legislation. This reform might cause some mothers to enter the workforce during the projection period as their welfare benefits are reduced or eliminated.