The shift to remote working is gaining momentum in some of America’s largest metropolitan areas, despite growing pressure from business leaders to get employees back to the office, according to new data from an international team of economists.
In some major US cities, the number of job postings for remotely accessible roles is at record highs — and growing. It’s the latest finding from researchers, including Nicholas Bloom of Stanford University, who have been collecting data on remote working since the early days of the pandemic.
By measuring the prevalence of job postings offering flexible arrangements, they found that in places like New York, Chicago and Atlanta, more job postings are open to remote workers than at any time in the past. last three years.
It could mean bosses like JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s Jamie Dimon, who said they are working from home”does not workfor young employees or managers, face an uphill battle. As the working from home debate resonates across the country, mayors have also pushed employees back to office, which would help shore up the tax base of municipal governments.
But the latest data suggests that partially empty office towers – a feature of city centers with the rise of remote working – could stay that way. Data from security firm Kastle Systems shows office occupancy in major US cities is only around half the pre-Covid level.
This may prove to be a problem that goes beyond bosses trying to repopulate their offices. Some investors fear this month’s banking turmoil will cause problems for commercial real estate owners who need to refinance their debt, as interest rates soar while property values have fallen in part because workers stay at home.
Sorting job posting data by city shows that Lansing, Michigan has the highest share of remote job postings, at 39%. the biggest employers there’s the state government and Michigan State University. City governments and universities tend to have a more unionized workforce, which means unions may have to sign any back-to-office agreements.
“Those cities with larger white-collar workforces, particularly in government, technology and education, have the largest share of new jobs offering remote and hybrid arrangements,” says Peter Lambert, PhD candidate at the London School of Economics and member of the research team.
The South is generally the worst part of the United States to be an aspiring remote worker — and the worst place of all is Bradenton, near Tampa in Florida, where less than 3% of job postings have this option. Nine of the 10 metropolitan areas with the lowest share of job openings open to remote or hybrid work are in the South.
The pandemic has created new opportunities for employees to take advantage more flexible arrangements, but this was not shared equally across the economy. In some industries, the reality is that people have to be where the work is.
Very few jobs in transportation, food preparation and service, and health care support are feasible remotely. In other industries like finance, remote working continues to grow. The change could upend the notion of “corporate cities,” or the dominance of a particular industry by a particular region. Some analysts even see this kind of process at work in the current move of many finance jobs out of New York.
Still, many companies are looking to put limits on remote work, with policies that dictate how often employees must be in the office. And if the labor market cools, as economists expect in the coming year, bosses will have more influence – and employees will have less.
This could already be happening in some corners of the economy – like parts of the tech industry, which has seen large-scale layoffs. In San Jose, for example — an area with a high concentration of tech workers — the share of ads at least partially open to remote work has fallen from a peak of 20% in December to 15% last month.