TOPLINEAs the coronavirus crisis reshapes the American workforce, a new study from the National Bureau of Economic Research reveals that 37% of jobs in the United States can be done at home.
Jefferies estimates that the number of people who work from home will double after the COVID-19 … [+]
That 37% accounts for 46% of all wages, according to NBER; while higher-paying jobs in the finance and professional services sectors can be done at home, fewer lower-paying jobs in retail, agriculture, or hotels and restaurants are able to do the same.
Currently, about 5% of workers work from home, according to Jefferies. The firm estimates that number will double after the COVID-19 crisis.
Jefferies analysts say this will have profound effects on technology requirements (as companies increase their budgets for hardware and software), consumer behavior (as more people shop online and corporate travel falls), and leisure time (as fewer workers commute).
According to the NBER study, the top five metropolitan areas for working from home are San Jose, California; Washington D.C.; Durham-Chapel Hill, North Carolina; Austin, Texas and San Francisco. Nearly half of jobs in these areas—in industries like education, science, finance, and insurance—could feasibly be done from home.
On the other hand, the Grand Rapids, Michigan; Lancaster, Pennsylvania; Bakersfield, California; Stockton, California and Fort Myers, Florida metropolitan areas are the worst for working from home. Less than 30% of jobs in those areas—in industries like transportation and warehousing, construction, and retail—could be performed remotely.
Over the last three weeks, more than 16.7 million people have filed for temporary unemployment benefits, according to the Labor Department.
As the pandemic batters markets, closes schools, and upends most aspects of normal life, businesses have begun laying off workers in earnest. The latest: after canceling its comeback season in March, the XFL, owned by billionaire Vince McMahon, suspended operations and laid off all of its employees.
What to watch for
The coronavirus outbreak could cost 47 million jobs this quarter, according to estimates by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. That would translate to an unemployment rate of 32.1%, well above the 24.9% rate during the Great Depression.