#113 – Inside Our Industry – Remote Work Revolution

Posted on | Inside Our Industry

As our long-time readers and followers know, Agracel has primarily focused our work in “agurban” or rural or non-metro areas since our start in 1986. We always believed that there was, and still is, a special appeal to small-town living. With the continued expansion of broadband services, the exodus from big cities to smaller communities really took hold. Certain types of work could literally be done from anywhere with an internet connection. Now, as we see in the following article (excerpts), the coronavirus pandemic has further accelerated that move.

The remote work revolution is already reshaping America
Andrew Van Dam  |  washingtonpost.com  |  August 19, 2022

The coronavirus pandemic set in motion a shift to remote and hybrid work that is quietly reshaping American economics and demographics.

… remote work has ebbed significantly since the height of pandemic shutdowns in 2020, when almost two-thirds of work was done remotely. But it has since stabilized at an extraordinarily high level: Around a third of work was done remotely in the United States in 2021 and 2022, according to economists José María Barrero (Autonomous Technological Institute of Mexico), Nicholas Bloom (Stanford University) and Steven Davis (University of Chicago).

In particular, the remote-work wave has roiled the so-called knowledge industries such as finance and information, a category that includes everything from journalists to search-engine developers. There, 3 of every 5 workdays are now done from home, according to Barrero, Bloom and Davis.

The places with the highest remote-work rates in the country include the dense urban cores of Manhattan, D.C. and San Francisco, along with much of Northern Virginia’s suburban heartland, including Arlington, Falls Church, Alexandria, and Loudoun and Fairfax counties. Also in the top 10 are the federal science hub of Los Alamos County, N.M., and the wealthy lakeside enclave of Forsyth County, Ga., northeast of Atlanta.

“Many workers in urban areas are continuing to experience the benefit of not being tied to a certain Zip code and moving to more affordable exurbs, whether to be closer to family and support structures or to ‘get more for their money’ and experience a different standard of living on their same paycheck,” said Yvette Cameron, an Oracle senior vice president who specializes in human-resource management software.

The latest population estimates by the Census Bureau reveal seismic disruptions as Americans spread into rural, exurban and suburban areas at rates we haven’t seen in at least a decade, according to Economic Innovation Group’s August Benzow. White people are leading the exodus from the country’s large, urban cores, but they’re not the only ones who are leaving.

Notably, two of the counties with the most remote-eligible jobs, Manhattan (New York County) and San Francisco, experienced the fastest population loss of any county with more than 10,000 residents from 2020 to 2021. Each saw their prime working-age population shrink by almost 10 percent.

“Population losses were biggest in large urban counties that before the pandemic had a high share of jobs that could be done remotely, high housing costs and lots of people commuting in,” said Adam Ozimek, Economic Innovation Group chief economist and remote-work expert. “This is all very consistent with remote work being a significant driver of pandemic population changes, and the effect extends beyond San Francisco and New York City.”

Full Story