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COVID-19's Impact on Georgia's Early Care and Education Industry Revealed in New Study

A recent study conducted by researchers out of The University of Georgia and Georgia State University uncovers the initial impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the early care and education industry in Georgia. The report offers a first attempt at quantifying the impact of the pandemic by comparing the industry in 2020 versus 2019 on a variety of metrics.

In 2019, Georgia boasted 5,512 ECE providers, but by 2020, this number dwindled to 5,380—a 2.4% decline. While closures initially hit hard, with only 30% of providers operational in early April 2020, a gradual recovery ensued, with 90% resuming face-to-face instruction by year-end.

The study also underscores shifts in child attendance patterns, revealing persistent gaps across age groups throughout 2020. Employment in the ECE sector, which stood at approximately 71,500 in 2019, saw an 18% decline by December 2020, accompanied by a drop in average annual wages.

Despite these challenges, the industry's gross receipts weathered relatively well, thanks to increased federal and state support. While overall receipts dipped slightly, the infusion of funds from initiatives like the CARES Act played a pivotal role in stabilizing Georgia's ECE sector throughout the early days of social isolation.

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