Sep 22, 2023 - Business

Austin is still one of the nation's top remote work hubs

Data: Census Bureau; Chart: Axios Visuals

Remote work is holding strong here — 28% of Austin metro area workers were working from home as of 2022, compared to a peak of 32% in 2021, per newly released Census Bureau figures.

Driving the news: That's the second-highest percentage among American metro areas, the highest in Texas and well above the national average.

The big picture: Workers in America's biggest, most competitive cities aren't giving up the flexibility and savings — in both time and gas money — of working from home.

  • Every state has more remote workers now than it did in 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic began.

Flashback: Austin saw the biggest net gain of remote workers of any major city in 2020-21, per a New York Times analysis.

  • Steven Pedigo, director of the University of Texas' LBJ Urban Lab and a professor studying economic development, previously told Axios he's optimistic that remote workers will stick around because of the city's social cohesion.
  • Plus, he said the city remains less expensive compared to where many moved from, like California and New York.

Zoom out: Overall, 15% of the U.S. worked from home last year, versus nearly 18% in 2021 — but the numbers remain much higher on the East and West coasts and in large metro areas.

  • Boulder, Colorado — with just under a tenth of Austin's population — had the highest share of remote workers of any metro area last year at 32%.
  • San Francisco and San Jose were both in the top 10, but their main rival for tech jobs — Austin — beat them out.
  • Just over 25% of the Washington, D.C. metro area workforce is remote — the sixth highest rate of any city, and higher than any state.
Data: U.S. Census; Chart: Axios Visuals

The other side: Mississippi has the lowest share of remote workers in the U.S., at just 5.5%, and the Southeast generally is well below the national average.

  • And even after two years, the trend line is barely moving. Nationwide, the share of people working from home declined by less than 3 percentage points between 2021 and 2022, according to the Census Bureau figures.

What we're watching: The work-from-home revolution is most entrenched in big cities with large concentrations of office buildings, and downtown economies that survived because of those office buildings being full.


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