Crisis looms for 50 million parents as US states decide how to handle the school year

American parents stand to lose even more productivity—and their minds—as more school districts like Los Angeles limit how many students will return to the classroom for the upcoming school year. This situation could weaken recovery efforts over the long term.

People living with children under the age of 14 were 32% of the US workforce in 2018, according to an analysis of US Census data by the Becker Friedman Institute at the University of Chicago.  That means 50 million workers would need to figure out what to do with their children if workplaces open before schools and day care facilities.

According to the study, while some of those families have a stay-at-home parent, many others don’t: 21% of US workers live in a household without a non-working adult who could take over their childcare duties. In order for every one of those households to have an adult watching the kids, 11% of the workforce would have to stay home.

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