So, based on the article “The Latest Pandemic Supply Shock: Child Care Workers” from Bloomberg CityLab, the suburban child care industry is having a staffing shortage.
Sure, these things happen. What I would contend is that this is going to become the norm. Who, in most suburbs, can afford to work as a child care worker and still support a household?
Let’s take a look at Mesa, Arizona, which is America’s largest suburb. In the article ”America’s Largest Suburb Flirts With Urbanization” , Mesa is “a product of the 1980s-90s urban sprawl, and very low-rise.”
So not many apartments. What about Section 8 housing? “The Maricopa County Public Housing Program houses individuals and families in more than 500 units in 15 communities.” So not much public housing either.
Then, there’s this nugget: “We have a very low resident-to-job ratio. We export a lot of workers every day to Tempe and Phoenix.” Surely, with such a high
Mesa’s home value is $338,516. Can you afford a home that expensive with a $12 to $14 per hour job?
The Phoenix, AZ area’s median rent is $1,085 per Zumper. I used a rental calculator to determine how much rent you can afford with a full-time $15 per hour job. It’s $990 a month…if you have no debts.
So if you’re someone in child care, do you want to shlep to the suburbs, or get a couple of part-time jobs closer to you? Even if they pay less, you’ll be better off.
That’s because you can’t get to most suburban jobs. And the Phoenix area, particularly, rates low in transit score and walk score. Also, the more buses and cars you use for work, the more you pay and, the more you’ll want to be compensated for that time and cash out-of-pocket.
I’m focusing on one area that came to mind. It means though, that many other areas will have the same problems. And worse problems actually.
The problem is the supply chain. In child care, labor is now the bottleneck in the chain. No workers, no child care. There is demand and no supply.
Think about your local supermarket. Where you out of certain items? Brands? Longer lines at checkout? All supply chain problems. You might say it was just COVID-19.
At the same time, maybe the workers at your supermarket decided to work closer to home. Maybe those items were on the way, but they stopped in the big city first. Or they ran out and didn’t arrive.
These outages, not to mention power outages like Texas, or cyberattacks like on Colonial Pipeline, affect surbanites differently. Since the suburbs are lower density then urban areas, they get triaged later. It’s faster, easier and cheaper to fix urban emergencies than suburban ones.
That’s my opinion. In any event, we have to work to make an American that works for everyone, regardless of where they live.