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
Links to this note
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.
An analysis by Ladders found that the percentage of high-paying job listings ($80,000+) in the US and Canada that were remote increased from 3.69% in Q4 2019 to 14.67% in Q3 2021.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics announced that 4.3 MM Americans quit their jobs in August 2021, up from 4MM in July. The quit rate is highest it’s been since the statistic became available in 2000.
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.