Oct 12, 2023 - News

Work-from-home finds favor in Utah — and not just in the city

Oops here - Data: U.S. Census; Chart: Axios Visuals
Oops here - Data: U.S. Census; Chart: Axios Visuals

Utahns are more likely than most Americans to work from home, new census data show.

  • And fewer Utahns went back to in-person work after 2021, suggesting employers and workers alike are relatively amenable to remote work.

By the numbers: 18% of employed Utahns worked from home in 2022, down from 20% in 2021.

  • Nationally, about 15% worked from home in 2022, a 2.7% drop from the year before.

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

Zoom out: The numbers are much higher on both the East and West coasts and in other large metros.

  • Boulder, Colorado, had the highest share of remote workers of any metro area last year, at 32%. Denver wasn't far behind.
  • San Francisco and San Jose were both in the top 10. Their main rival for tech jobs — Austin, Texas — was even higher.
  • Just over 25% of the Washington, D.C. metro area workforce is remote — the 6th highest rate of any city, and more than any state.

The intrigue: While working from home is most common in major cities nationally, most of Utah's smaller metros are also keeping up.

Zoom in: Ogden-Clearfield saw its work-from-home rates grow, from 17.8% to 18.2%, and Provo-Orem had the state's highest rate in 2022, at 19.3%.

  • At 15.8%, St. George also exceeded the national average. Logan, at 14.4% was the only Utah metro that did not.

Of note: Utah's biggest metro — Salt Lake City — saw the state's biggest decline, from 22.9% to 18.9%.

  • That's a sharper drop than in the nation as a whole.

What we're watching: Whether Utah's work-from-home will continue to equalize between urban Salt Lake and counties that are more suburban — and even rural.

  • With a statewide average of 18%, rates in rural workplaces can't be terribly far below the cities.
  • Zillow search data indicates most prospective buyers are shopping from within the state. That suggests more Utahns are looking to escape the exorbitant urban housing markets.
  • If they keep their city jobs, they'll be added to the remote-work population of their new suburban or rural homes.
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