The Grapevine

Only 34% Of People Can Work From Home In US Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

Lockdowns and stay-at-home measures aim to protect people from the novel coronavirus. But restrictions have been harming the economy and the pockets of people in the U.S. and other countries heavily affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

A new study shows that the majority of people in the U.S. are unable to continue working during shutdowns. Researchers estimated that only 34 percent of people in the country can work from home, Futurity reported Monday.

“Social distancing is difficult for everyone, but some people and sectors are disproportionately hurt,” Brent Neiman, a professor of economics at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business, said. “Most jobs in finance or insurance have a chance to continue with some degree of normalcy through the crisis, as they can be performed at home away from others. For just about everyone that works in hotels or restaurants, this is not an option.”

Researchers looked into surveys about job classifications in the country and data on the prevalence of occupations from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Results showed that two-thirds of U.S. jobs cannot be performed at home.

The most flexible jobs come from finance, corporate management and professional and scientific services. Researchers said very few people in agriculture, hotels, retail or restaurants could work remotely.

The team also found that work-at-home jobs earn more, covering 44 percent of all wages in the country. However, they noted the COVID-19 pandemic has different impacts on each city. 

“As the COVID-19 pandemic forces us to pause the face-to-face economy, some cities are better positioned to cope than others based on the fraction of their jobs that might be done from home,” Jonathan Dingel, an associate professor at the Booth School of Business at the University of Chicago, said. 

More than 40 percent of jobs in San Francisco, San Jose, Austin and Washington, D.C., can continue at home. However, less than 30 percent of people can take their work out of the office in Fort Myers, Grand Rapids and Las Vegas.

A recent report by the Labor Department shows that efforts to contain the coronavirus forced many employers in the U.S. to lay off more people in March. The agency said the country lost 701,000 jobs, including those from the food, manufacturing and tourism industries, in the past month, the Wall Street Journal reported

Work From Home COVID-19 Pandemic A new study released in April 2020 shows that only 34 percent of people in the U.S. can work from home during the COVID-19 pandemic. Pixabay

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