While the economic fallout of the pandemic has been hard on all of us, women and working families have been hit especially hard. According to Brookings Institute, by the beginning of 2020 (the centennial of the 19th Amendment’s ratification) women’s labor force participation stood at 58%, nearly a three-fold increase since 1920.
Unlike the Great Recession, which laid off more men, who saw construction and manufacturing jobs dry up, the pandemic shuttered industries in which women make up the majority of workforce: education, hospitality, medical services, and retail. “Four times as many women (across the country) dropped out of the workforce as men,” said Crickett Thomas-O’Dell, the Capital Region regional director of the Workforce Development Institute. The impact on women is so profound, it’s now being called the She Cession.
In a survey from May and June, one out of four women who became unemployed during the pandemic reported the job loss was due to a lack of childcare, twice the rate of men surveyed. A more recent survey shows the losses have not slowed down: between February and August, mothers of children 12 years old and younger lost 2.2 million jobs compared to 870,000 jobs lost among fathers.
The disruptions to daycare centers, schools, and afterschool programs has been hard on working fathers, but evidence shows working mothers have taken on more of the resulting childcare responsibilities, and are more frequently reducing their hours or leaving their jobs entirely in response.
Capacity of day-care centers has been reduced because of strict child-staff ratios and staffing requirements. Given that day cares historically operate on slim profit margins, these initial restrictions — coupled with the expense of purchasing personal protective equipment, or PPE, for staff and additional cleaning materials — could mean steep increases in tuition or going out of business.
“Currently, we’re operating at about 40% of the childcare that we have had before the pandemic. People are operating at reduced capacity,” said Abbe Kovacik, Executive Director of BrightSide Up. “If we do smaller group sizes the program will run at a deficit because they don’t have enough resources coming in to pay the salary they need to meet the ratio.”
Among working parents who reported needing care, nearly two-thirds (63 percent) had difficulty finding childcare in the first months of the pandemic. Even relying on grandparents can be uncertain — particularly in states with high and/or resurging covid-19 caseloads.
In the economy everything is connected. If people aren't going to work, that has a knock-on effect: Working from home means people don't spend money on train tickets, gas, lunches, or dry cleaning.
Without the increasing participation of women in the workforce, household income growth of the middle class would have remained largely stagnant since the late 1970’s. For low-income and single moms, the pandemic has exacerbated the hard choices between spending a significant portion of their income on childcare; finding a cheaper but potentially lower-quality option; or leaving the workforce to become a full-time caregiver. If we want our regional economy to rebound – hospitality, tourism, retail, healthcare, and education – we need to make sure that our workforce has the resources it needs to get back to work.
With the modern realty faced by working parents, we are long overdue for a realignment in our labor market policies, schools, and daycare systems. If we want to see our regional economy rebound, we need to try to increase the availability of childcare for working families. The Saratoga Partnership is partnering with Saratoga County Employment & Training, Warren County Employment & Training, Brightside Up, and the Southern Adirondack Child Care Network to conduct two separate surveys to assess the marketplace for future childcare needs. With this data, we will be working to develop workforce training programs to increase the availability of at home childcare centers in the Saratoga, Warren, and Washington County areas.
If you are an employer or part of the workforce, I encourage you to fill out the survey, reach out to us, and help advocate for meaningful solutions to support the needs of our workforce, and get our economy back on track as we recover from the economic impact of COVID-19.
SARATOGA SPRINGS —Saratoga Hospital has added teleneurology services - including telestroke care - to give patients 24/7 emergency access to neurologists who have extensive experience treating strokes. The hospital also uses teleneurology for inpatient consultations.
SARATOGA SPRINGS — The independent advisory committee The Adirondack Trust Company Community Fund (ATCCF/Community Fund) has awarded COVID-19 relief funding to local nonprofit organizåations through the Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York as well as Christ’s Cupboard Food Pantry at the First Baptist Church of Ballston Spa.
Image: The Promenade – a new workforce housing development in Saratoga Springs is slated for completion in May. Rendering provided.
SARATOGA SPRINGS — Waiters, waitresses, daycare staff and kitchen help are some of the people working in Saratoga Springs who now have the opportunity to live in the city with the development of new, affordable, workforce housing units on the city’s west side. It’s called the Promenade, and it’s slated for completion in the spring.
Saratoga Springs - A common risk to investments that is typically an afterthought is the risk that your money will lose purchasing power in the future. Why is it an afterthought? Its symptoms are mostly imperceptible from day-to-day, so we focus on more pressing things like the potential loss in value caused by a March 2020-style crash. In our hopefully-soon-post-COVID environment, we will be forced to grapple with the effects of the massive efforts taken by both the government and Federal Reserve to keep our economy afloat. Where will we feel the effects? What can be done to protect your investments?
SARATOGA SPRINGS – Nearly two miles long and connecting Church Street and Ballston Avenue, recent years have brought significant development to the city’s west side.
GLENS FALLS — Gallagher, a global insurance and risk management brokerage firm, this week announced it would join Cool Insuring Agency, Inc. in its support of the Glens Falls Arena, and extend its naming rights through 2025. The agreement comes following an announcement in December that Gallagher acquired Queensbury-based Cool Insuring Agency, Inc. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
“A key part of growing Gallagher’s business is to work with people and organizations like Cool Insuring Agency who share our common values of ethics, integrity, service and community enrichment,” said Bob Crandall, Area President for Gallagher in Albany, in a prepared statement. “We can’t think of a better way to support the upstate New York community than by serving as a steward of the Arena, and we are excited to be part of its deep roots in Glens Falls.”
The 4,794-seat multi-purpose arena located in downtown Glens Falls currently serves as the home of a minor league hockey team and also hosts a 7,335 square foot banquet facility called Heritage Hall. While currently closed due to restrictions of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Arena will continue to host popular local activities including tractor pulls, concerts, public skating, indoor walking and more to the upstate community.
Cool Insuring Agency, Inc. was founded in 1857 by Charles W. Cool, the first mayor of the city of Glens Falls and has served the community for the past 150 years. The partnership extension will include the naming rights to the Arena, which was officially named Cool Insuring Arena in 2018.
“We have developed a great relationship with Cool Insuring over these past few years as our naming rights partner, and we are thrilled that Gallagher wanted to extend our partnership,” said Jeff Mead, General Manager for Cool Insuring Arena.
SARATOGA SPRINGS — Saratoga Hospital has been named a Blue Distinction Center for Maternity Care as part of the Blue Distinction Specialty Care program.
The Distinction Center designation, from BlueShield of Northeastern New York, is reserved for programs that meet rigorous standards for quality, patient safety and outcomes. Criteria were expanded in 2020 to include efforts to prevent or treat maternity-related conditions, reduce the rate of cesarean section deliveries, and address racial and ethnic disparities in maternal healthcare.
“Blue Distinction affirms our unwavering commitment to high-quality, patient-centered maternity care,” said Dr. Amos Cutler, chair, of Saratoga Hospital’s OB/GYN Department, in a prepared statement. “The designation affirms what so many of our patients already know—that you can count on Saratoga Hospital to take great care of you and your baby.”
The hospital has adopted a collaborative physician-midwife model of care that reflects best practices. Certified nurse midwives perform most routine vaginal deliveries, with OB/GYN physicians always available. The model helps ensure that, as much as possible, families have the experience they want during childbirth.
For more information about the Blue Distinction program and a list of designated facilities, visit www.bcbs.com/bluedistinction.
SARATOGA SPRINGS — Price Chopper/Market 32 and Tops Markets announced this week that they have entered into a definitive merger agreement to create an alliance between the two independent grocery chains, nearly doubling their collective footprint in the Northeast.
SCOTIA — John Buhrmaster, president and CEO of 1st National Bank of Scotia, is assuming a leadership role as vice-chair on the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) Community Bank Advisory Council (CBAC). He will transition to committee chair in October.
ADIRONDACK TRUST COMPANY ANNOUNCES
NEW BOARD OF DIRECTORS MARC CONNER AND BRIAN STRAUGHTER
Saratoga Springs, New York—The Adirondack Trust Company announced today that it has appointed Marc Conner, Ph.D., and Brian Straughter, Ed.D., as new members to its Board of Directors.
SARATOGA SPRINGS — You can find him standing behind the barber’s chair, five days a week, inside of the red brick building on Washington Street where the front door entryway is flanked by the spinning red, white and blue colors of a barber pole, and a flat metal sign that tells you you’ve arrived at Larry’s Barbershop.
It should come as no surprise that 2020 was a rough year on the hotel industry. In fact, it was the worst year on record and Saratoga County was not immune to the downturn.