Merging data from the Occupational Information Network (O*NET), National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979 (NLSY79) round 16, and American Time Use Survey (ATUS) shows that an estimated 45% of jobs (~67MM based on number of employed citizens) in the US can be done remotely. However, prior to the pandemic only 10% of workers who could work remotely actually did (the takeup rate).
Read Ability to work from home: evidence from two surveys and implications for the labor market in the COVID-19 pandemic from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
- Of those who did work remotely two-thirds want to continue to work remotely
- This also shows 55% of jobs can’t be done remotely which may correlate with the inequality of remote work
- COVID-19 changed the takeup rate significantly, 18.3 of workers ‘telecommuted’ in April 2021 according the May Employment Situation Summary
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While just 5% of the workforce in the US worked from home prior to the pandemic, 20% are expected to work from home permanently.
We can come up with a valuation of remote work by looking at a few signals: what you would forgo, what do you gain, what others gain, and what others lose.
In 2019, Americans spent an average of 55.2 minutes per day commuting. During the COVID-19 pandemic, remote workers have completely eliminated morning commutes which is like a 10% raise (or higher if you are like 10% of Americans that commute two hours per day. The monetary value of saved commuting time would be equivalent to the largest tax cuts for the middle class ever.