Sep 19, 2023 - Business

Remote work in Seattle remains above U.S. average

Data: U.S. Census; Chart: Axios Visuals
Data: U.S. Census; Chart: Axios Visuals

The percentage of Seattle-area residents working from home is down from its pandemic-era peak, but it's still higher than in most metro areas, according to new census data.

Driving the news: A little over 25% of people in the Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue area worked mostly from home last year, per American Community Survey data released last week.

  • That's higher than the national average, in which roughly 15% of people reported working remotely most days.

Why it matters: While many employers are pushing a return to the office, employees in competitive markets like Seattle have been slow to give up the benefits of working from home, which include saving commute time and gas money.

By the numbers: Among metro areas, Seattle had the fifth highest share of people who said they mostly worked from home in 2022 (tied with Washington, D.C.)

Data: Census Bureau; Chart: Axios Visuals
Data: Census Bureau; Chart: Axios Visuals
  • The percentage of remote workers in the Seattle region trailed Boulder, Colorado (32%); Austin, Texas (28%); San Francisco (27%); and Raleigh, North Carolina (26.1%).

Plus: Remote work in the Seattle metro area is down about 5 percentage points year-over-year, after reaching a high of 30.6% in 2021.

  • Previously, in 2019, slightly under 6.5% of Seattle-area residents said they work remotely most days.

Of note: The city of Seattle itself had a higher share of at-home workers last year than the larger metro area, with an estimated 36% of Seattle workers saying they worked at home most days in 2022.

  • That's down about 11 percentage points from 2021.

What we're watching: Whether Seattle's work-from-home numbers decline further in 2023, after companies like Amazon and Starbucks announced return-to-office mandates earlier this year.

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