Remote work, the one ray of hope in a global tragedy, is becoming a rarity again.
According to two new surveys, the number of people working remotely from home in the US has dropped to pre-pandemic levels.
The two latest Census Bureau Household Pulse surveys reveal that only seven states and Washington DC still show remote-work rates above 33%. By comparison, during the pandemic, all 31 states and DC had more than this.
The reasons for this go beyond return to office mandates – they can be blamed on migration and even politics, as the numbers show Democratic states having higher remote-work rates than Republican ones.
The report also illustrates a new and grim reality: the number of remote jobs are dropping.
“The latest Census data also underlines that employees’ demand for remote jobs is outpacing the number of companies offering them. In 157 of the largest metro areas in the US, more than half of job applications were for fully remote or hybrid roles in August, according to LinkedIn data generated for Bloomberg, but postings for those jobs have been falling since early 2022, data from Indeed Inc. shows. In Colorado — widely seen as a work-from-home haven and one of the few states that has maintained a rate above one third — 76% of job applications in Colorado Springs were for fully remote or hybrid roles in August, the LinkedIn data showed.
Some areas are capitalizing on that scarcity. Alabama, with a work-from-home rate of just 15% according to the Pulse data, offers $10,000 to remote workers who move to the state’s northwest Shoals area. The program has attracted about the same number of applications so far this year as in all of 2021 and 2022 combined, about 3,400.
All 50 states pale in comparison to their largest cities’ metro areas. In Washington, DC, where government bureaucrats are loath to go back to their offices, the remote-work rate is above 50%, the data shows. Similarly, Seattle, Boston and San Francisco all had rates near or above 40%. Average office attendance across ten big US cities remains about 50% of pre-pandemic levels, according to security firm Kastle Systems International LLC, no higher than where it was early in 2023.”