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The ten largest employer child care management organizations (see "The Exchange Top 10" on page 68), as a group, reported a zero growth rate in 2004. This year of no growth follows two years in which the sector grew by only 4% per year. This contrasts dramatically with the fast expansion period for employer child care, 1996 through 2000, when the sector grew at an average annual rate of 10%.
The one significant exception to the trend was, once again, Bright Horizons Family Solutions which grew by nearly 9% in 2004. In the past year, the Boston-based public company added 40 contracted centers and 30 office park centers to its client list.
Bullish on the economy
Despite the disappointing overall results for 2004, CEOs of the top ten companies were surprisingly upbeat about 2005 and beyond:
Nate McClintock, Children's Choice Learning Centers: As a provider, we are experiencing a tremendous demand for quality child care services that are flexible and committed to meeting the changing needs of America's families. We also see companies that have tried to offer child care in-house, and have found that it is not their core competency . ...