Massachusetts’ economy is losing an estimated $2.7 billion every year because working families can’t afford or find child care, according to a report released on Thursday by the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation.

A little over 60% of that money comes in the form of lost wages by parents who aren’t going to work, and 30% of it comes in the form of money lost by employers in lower productivity and turnover costs. The nonpartisan public policy organization’s report said the average cost of infant care in Massachusetts is $21,000 a year — the most expensive in the nation. Experts say that continued support from the state and federal government is necessary to support providers and bring down the costs of child care.

Issues with child care and its high costs lead to parents missing work, moving from full- to part-time jobs and some leaving the workforce altogether, the foundation found.

“If you’ve got a infant and you’re in the city of Boston, I mean, you're paying college tuitions,” said William Eddy, executive director of the Massachusetts Association of Early Education and Care. “If you're making $75,000 a year in Boston and you're paying a third of that for your child care costs, and then together with your rent, your food — you know, the ability to live a quality life is really impacted.”

If just 10% of parents with young children who are staying home were able to rejoin the workforce full-time, the report estimates the economy would gain $859 million in wages and $33 million in tax revenues.

Addressing the high cost of child care becomes even trickier in light of the staffing shortage plaguing providers.

“So many of our early education programs across the state have closed classrooms that, if they could actually hire staff, it would actually allow us to then bring more children in,” Eddy said.

Amy O’Leary, executive director of the advocacy group Strategies for Children, said when providers had to shut down early in the pandemic, many did not reopen, so thousands of spots for children were lost.

At the Guild of St. Agnes in Worcester, executive director Ed Madaus credits state and federal subsidies for luring in the workers they need. He added that many of his workers are reentering the workforce, so they’re not taking them away from competing providers.

“We’re giving $2,000 incentives to join us, and we've increased our salaries by over 30% in the last couple of years,” Madaus said. “We still need to hire more people, so, we’re doing everything we can to bring folks in.”

But Eddy said the state’s child-care subsidy program for families is not reaching the majority of people who need it most. He pointed to a report published by the state last month, which found that just 17% of families who qualify for subsidies are currently receiving them.

“That is right, in a nutshell, the problem we have right now,” Eddy said. “Some families are paying an extraordinary amount of their income for child care because they couldn't access a subsidy. They just couldn’t either navigate the system, or couldn't find a voucher — or providers in their area just weren't offering a voucher, because they have no staff and have closed classrooms.”

Madaus and Eddy both said they’re encouraged by the recently released House budget that allocates $110 million towards early education and care. O’Leary added that it can’t come soon enough.

“Programs have probably kept it together for a long time, but that doesn't mean that they're going to be sustainable for the next six months,” O’Leary said.