The coronavirus outbreak continues to reshape the way people are thinking, interacting, and working. As more and more people file for unemployment and social distancing measures keep getting extended, many fear that the economic fallout from this pandemic will be cataclysmic.
Many people are already starting to make predictions about how these unprecedented changes and experiences will continue to shape the future of the United States even after the fight with the direct threat of the virus passes. The National Bureau of Economic Research conducted a new study that revealed around 37% of positions in the US could be performed at home.
NBER reports that the 37% statistic accounts for roughly 46% of all of the country’s wages. It seems that higher-paying roles such as those in the professional services and financial industries could be performed at home, while lower-paying positions such as those in the restaurant, hotel, agriculture, or retail spaces wouldn’t have that flexible option.
It’s estimated that 5% of people currently work from home. The projection is that this number will double following the coronavirus crisis. The report continues to suggest that this predicted change would have major effects on leisure time, consumer behavior, and technology requirements. Namely, more people wouldn’t have to commute, we might see more people shopping online, and companies would have to provide their employees with more software and hardware to successfully work from home.
The NBER study mentions 5 metropolitan areas that are the most suited for making this transition:
- San Francisco
- Durham-Chapel Hill
- Washington D.C.
- and San Jose are at the top of the list.
Almost half of the total number of jobs in all of these cities are in industries such as insurance, finance, science, and education. These industries are ones that can feasibly be performed from home. Fort Myers, Stockton, Bakersfield, Lancaster, and Grand Rapids make up the flipside of that statistic. These cities aren’t well-poised to make the same transition since lower than 30% of jobs could be done remotely. Construction, retail, warehousing, and transportation are among the most popular industries in these cities.
Over the past 3 weeks, 16.7 million people filed for unemployment benefits. The Labor Department released these staggering numbers to the public recently. Multiple records have been set regarding the economic fallout that is occurring throughout the country as a result of the measures being taken to help curb the effects of the novel coronavirus.
While the pandemic continues to close businesses deemed “non-essential”, create turmoil in stock markets, and monger an overall sense of chaos in nearly every facet of life, businesses have started laying off (or furloughing) employees left and right. Most recently, the XFL, which is owned by Vince McMahon, decided to cancel the season in March. It suspended all operations and laid off every single employee.
What to Keep An Eye Out For
The response to the coronavirus pandemic might cost 47 million jobs in this quarter alone, according to predictions set forth by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. This would bring the total unemployment rate of the United States to an astonishing and historical 32.1%. For comparison, the unemployment rate during the Great Depression was only 24.9%. Of course, this is only a projection and with so much uncertainty, it can change as scientists continue to learn more about this virus and billions of dollars are being poured into research surrounding treatment and a vaccine.