The COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically reshaped the way Americans work, and new data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics sheds light on just how much the private sector has adapted to a more remote workforce. According to the 2022 Business Response Survey (BRS), which collected data from private-sector establishments between August and September 2022, 27.5 percent of companies with 2.5 million employees teleworked some or all of the time.
The industries with the highest percentage of companies employing teleworkers were the information sector (67.4 percent), professional and business services (49 percent), educational services (46 percent), and wholesale trade (39 percent). These industries have been at the forefront of the shift towards remote work, likely due to the nature of their work and the ability to use technology to facilitate telework.
The data also revealed that the percentage of employers with some or all employees teleworking changed over the last year. In August and September 2022, 72.5 percent of companies had little or no telework, compared to 60.1 percent in the same period in 2021. Meanwhile, the percentage of firms with some (but not all) employees teleworking was 16.4 percent in 2022, compared to 29.8 percent in 2021. The share of employers with all their employees teleworking all the time remained relatively stable at 11.1 percent in August and September 2022, a slight increase compared to 10.3 percent in the same period in 2021.
The survey also collected data on new hires and job vacancies. Nationwide, 22.4 percent of employers hired new employees in July 2022, with 7.3 percent increasing starting pay and 5.4 percent expanding advertising to attract more applicants. In addition, 2.4 percent of establishments hired at least one employee who will telework all the time.
When it comes to filling open positions, nationally, 7 percent of companies took more than 30 days to fill at least one open position, with some industries taking longer than others. The industries most likely to take more than 30 days to fill positions were accommodation and food services (14.9 percent), health care and social assistance (12.3 percent), and manufacturing (11.1 percent).
Finally, the survey found that 20.9 percent of firms had vacancies they were attempting to fill in August and September 2022, with 3.1 percent of these having at least one vacancy eligible for telework all the time. The percentage of companies that had a vacancy open for more than 30 days varied by industry, ranging from 6.9 percent in natural resources and mining to 20.2 percent in accommodation and food services.
As the pandemic continues to evolve, these data suggest that remote work is here to stay for many industries, and employers are adapting to the new reality of a more flexible workforce. Employers who are able to offer telework options may have an advantage when it comes to attracting and retaining talent, and it will be interesting to see how these trends continue to evolve in the months and years ahead.