NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
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COVID-19 and Remote Work: An Early Look at US Data

Erik Brynjolfsson, John J. Horton, Adam Ozimek, Daniel Rock, Garima Sharma, Hong-Yi TuYe

NBER Working Paper No. 27344
Issued in June 2020
NBER Program(s):Industrial Organization, Labor Studies, Productivity, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship

We report the results of a nationally-representative sample of the US population during the COVID-19 pandemic. The survey ran in two waves from April 1-5, 2020 and May 2-8, 2020. Of those employed pre-COVID-19, we find that about half are now working from home, including 35.2% who report they were commuting and recently switched to working from home. In addition, 10.1% report being laid-off or furloughed since the start of COVID-19. There is a strong negative relationship between the fraction in a state still commuting to work and the fraction working from home. We find that the share of people switching to remote work can be predicted by the incidence of COVID-19 and that younger people were more likely to switch to remote work. Furthermore, states with a higher share of employment in information work including management, professional and related occupations were more likely to shift toward working from home and had fewer people laid off or furloughed. We find no substantial change in results between the two waves, suggesting that most changes to remote work manifested by early April.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w27344

 
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