Childcare Breakdown: The Scarcity of Childcare in Wisconsin is Fueling Workforce Shortage and Economic Challenges

May 18, 2023

(Madison, WI) A new report from the Wisconsin Economic Development Institute (WEDI),  Childcare in Wisconsin and its Impact on Workforce and the Economy, shows the scarcity and high cost of quality childcare in Wisconsin is making it increasingly difficult for parents trying to enter, re-enter, or remain in the workforce.

This research was commissioned by WEDI, and prepared by Baker Tilly who gathered and subsequently analyzed all relevant recent research and surveys on childcare and its impact on the workforce and economy of Wisconsin. Both statewide and locally gathered data were utilized. In addition to collecting data, informational interviews from select stakeholders were conducted too.

“Employers across Wisconsin are facing unprecedented hiring challenges, as many workers are choosing to remain out of the workforce, and the WEDI report clearly illustrates one key factor is the lack of employee access to childcare,” said Mary Perry, WEDI Board member and President and CEO of the Wisconsin Economic Development Association (WEDA). “While childcare remains an important family issue, it is also a critical business issue. It plays a major role in employment decisions made by families, and as a result has a significant impact on employers and business productivity.”

A Sampling of the Report’s Highlights:

  • Approximately 4 out of 5 Wisconsin employers say the state economy is impacted by a parent’s access to affordable, high-quality childcare.
  • Two-thirds of employers say childcare is a way to retain valuable employees.
  • The long-term economic impact of Wisconsin’s childcare crisis is estimated at $4.2 to $6.4 billion. 

The Wisconsin Economic Development Institute, Inc. (WEDI) is a non-profit, non-partisan foundation established under the Wisconsin Economic Development Association (WEDA) to conduct research and education designed to increase the effectiveness of economic development efforts. For additional WEDI and WEDA information, visit .