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Childcare Boosts North Carolina Businesses by Billions

September 22, 2011

WILMINGTON, N.C. - Caring for North Carolina children is a boost to the state's economy, according to a study released this week. The report finds that child care in North Carolina generates $1.7 billion dollars in revenue and is linked to more than 49,000 jobs. Additionally, by providing support to 380,000 parents in the state, child care enables them to earn more than $12 billion each year.

Connie Majure-Rhett, president and CEO of the Greater Wilmington Chamber of Commerce, describes its values.

"Quality child care, number one, helps us attract good businesses to the state. It helps provide a workplace of people more focused on their work and more productive, and it's good for our economy."

During the last legislative session, Smart Start and NC Pre-K each received 20 percent cuts to funding, resulting in fewer services to children and fewer pre-k spots.

Majure-Rhett also points out that a lack of support in child care reduces productivity in the workplace.

"It's the burden in the back of everybody's mind: 'Is my child being cared for?' 'What am I going to do if my child is not cared for?' 'Is my child being educated well?' Obviously, it takes away from your focus at work."

In North Carolina, according to Smart Start data, 445,000 children, from newborns to age 5, live in homes where both parents work. That equals 59 percent of the state's youngest children, who rely on caregivers during what experts believe is a time of critical brain development.

Child care data and statistics for each county in the state are listed at www.SmartStart.org.

Stephanie Carroll Carson, Public News Service - NC