Where Americans Are Working

By at 23 June, 2022, 4:28 pm

by Raymond J. Keating –

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has released its annual American Time Use Survey, and it offers some interesting data on where Americans worked in 2021.

More Home-Based Work

First, it’s not surprising given the impact of the pandemic that Americans were working at home in 2021 to a far greater extent than was the case pre-pandemic. On days worked, 38.1 percent of employed individuals (full or part-time) did all or part of their work at home, with 68.4 percent working at a workplace. That compared to 24 percent working at home in 2019 and 82 percent in the workplace.

Home-Based Differential Between the Sexes

Second, there was a difference among men and women in 2021. Among men, 36.7 percent worked fully or partially from home, compared to 41.5 percent among women.

Education is a Factor

Third, education level mattered a great deal. Among individuals without a high school degree, 5.9 percent worked fully or partially from home. That climbed to 18.8 percent for high school graduates with no college; 30.6 percent for individuals with some college or an associate degree; and 59.8 percent for those with a bachelor’s degree or higher (54.7 percent with a bachelor’s and 66.9 percent with an advanced degree).

Employee vs. Self-Employment

Fourth, entrepreneurship also made a difference. When looking at the main job of individuals, 36.6 percent of wage and salary workers in 2021 worked fully or partially from home, and that compared to 45.3 percent of the self-employed.

Occupational Differences

Fifth, occupations mattered as well. Regarding main jobs, 59.0 of those in “management, business and financial operations” worked at home, and 56.5 percent of those in “professional and related” work. That dropped to 34.6 percent for those in sales and related work, and 34.4 percent for those in “office and administrative support.” Among the major occupation areas presented in the report, the next highest area – “installation, maintenance and repair” – saw a drop in the level of those working at home to 13.6 percent.

Finally, though not broken out, based on the data in the report, 8.6 percent of those employed held multiple jobs in 2021. Of course, some of those individuals take on additional work out of necessity, others do so to seek out new opportunities, and for some, it’s a mix of these and other motivations.

Raymond J. Keating is chief economist for the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council. His latest book is The Weekly Economist: 52 Quick Reads to Help You Think Like an Economist.




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