Half the Labor Force in Major U.S. Cities Is Working From Home
A person works from home on a laptop computer in Princeton, U.S. (Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg)

Half the Labor Force in Major U.S. Cities Is Working From Home

In some of America’s major cities, about half the workforce is still working remotely almost nine months into the coronavirus pandemic, according to a survey by the U.S. Census Bureau.

Across the U.S., 37% of employees were teleworking between late October and early November, according to the bureau’s Household Pulse Survey, which publishes insights about Americans’ experiences during the pandemic. But the rates can vary widely by state and city, depending on a mix of factors such as the type of jobs, workplace polices and government restrictions.

Half the Labor Force in Major U.S. Cities Is Working From Home

In tech-heavy San Francisco, 56.2% of people 18 years of age and older said they were doing their jobs remotely. Companies such as Alphabet Inc.’s Google, Facebook Inc. and Amazon.com Inc. have announced they will let employees work remotely into 2021.

In the nation’s capital area, where Amazon is establishing a second headquarters, the federal government is also allowing for flexible work arrangements. About 55.6% of those surveyed in Washington, D.C. reported they were teleworking. In other big cities, the share of adults in Boston, Seattle, Los Angeles, New York and Atlanta who say they were working from home ranged from 45% to 55%.

Half the Labor Force in Major U.S. Cities Is Working From Home

Lower-earners typically didn’t have the same flexibility as higher earners. More than 61% of households taking in more than $75,000 a year said they were able to substitute telecommuting for some in-person work, compared with about 21% of households earning less than $75,000, according to the Census figures.

The divide is also geographical. In the poorest state, Mississippi, the percentage of adults teleworking at least part of the time was just 21%, compared with more than half of adults in more affluent Massachusetts and Colorado.

Half the Labor Force in Major U.S. Cities Is Working From Home

The pandemic may have a lasting impact on the way Americans work. Nearly two-thirds of U.S. employees who have been working from home during the pandemic want to keep doing so because of a personal preference or over concern about catching Covid-19 in the workplace, according to a Gallup survey between Sept. 14-27.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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