Economy League report examines shift to remote work in region

This Leading Indicator report from the Economy League of Greater Philadelphia looks at how remote work in Philadelphia has changed before and after the COVID-19 pandemic. They use the latest estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2021 American Community Survey (ACS) to dig deeper into what remote work looks like across different demographic groups and industry sectors in Philadelphia since 2019.

What You Need to Know

  • In 2021, remote workers in Philadelphia accounted for 23.8% of the total employed population compared to only 5% in 2019.
  • Among the 20 largest U.S. cities, the average proportion of remote workers jumped from 6.4% in 2019 to 26.2% in 2021.
  • Philadelphia saw a slightly higher increase in female employees shifting to remote work, increasing from 5.3% in 2019 to 24% in 2021, compared to male remote workers whose share increased from 4.2% to 21.1% over the same period.
  • Higher income workers in Philadelphia saw a much larger jump in shifting to remote work compared to low-wage earners. In 2021, almost 30% of Philadelphia residents earning more than $65,000 shifted to remote work compared to 6% of residents who earned less than $15,000.
  • Office-based occupations, like Management and Sales, experienced a larger shift to remote work in 2021 at 40% and 21% respectively. Blue-collar jobs in the Service, Construction, and Transportation sectors only saw 10% of their total employment shift to remote work.
  • From 2019 to 2021, Philadelphia’s workers of color experienced the lowest shift to remote work, with Black and Hispanic workers seeing a 14.2 and 13.1 percentage point increase, respectively, in their proportion of remote workers. Philadelphia’s Asian workers saw a 16.5 percentage point increase while white workers saw the largest increase at 28.3 percentage points.

For the full report, go here.