By Isobel Lu
Ever since the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, which caused the sudden closure of many offices and workspaces, more and more Americans have begun to transition to remote work. During the pandemic, close to 70% of full-time employees were working remotely, and these numbers are expected to remain much higher than pre-pandemic levels, even with most offices being fully reopened.
This map (above) from The Washington Post shows the estimated share of days worked from home by county, based on industry and occupation data. Certain jobs in specific industries are more likely to have higher percentages of remote work. They found the highest rates of remote work appeared in jobs in technology, finance, and communications sectors. On the other hand, the lowest rates were seen in service jobs, specifically in the hospitality and retail industries. Additionally, where workers live is shown to impact their remote work status. People who reside in urban areas have the highest work from home rates in the country, and many of these workers are beginning to take this opportunity to move to more affordable suburbs and smaller metro areas farther from city centers due to the flexibility of their jobs.
The Census Bureau has always included the length of commute in their collection of data, but more information is required to be able to fully analyze what types of companies are able to thrive remotely. Moving forward, the Bureau is looking into including more questions about working from home into their surveys to gain a better understanding of the impacts of remote work. With this recent rapid momentum, remote work has the power to be a large driver of population changes and migration patterns in cities throughout the U.S. and overall change mobility as we know it.