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Over one-third of private-sector establishments increased telework during the COVID-19 pandemic

October 21, 2022

After the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, 34.5 percent of private-sector establishments in the United States increased telework for some or all employees in 2021. Among establishments that increased telework, 60.2 percent expected the increase in telework to continue after the pandemic ends.

Percent of private sector establishments that increased telework since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, 2021
Industry Percent

Educational services

62.7%

Information

60.9

Professional and business services

53.1

Financial activities

52.2

Wholesale trade

43.9

Health care and social assistance

38.9

Utilities

38.7

Total U.S., private sector

34.5

Arts, entertainment, and recreation

33.4

Manufacturing

30.5

Other services, except public administration

25.3

Transportation and warehousing

23.4

Construction

16.8

Retail trade

14.9

Natural resources and mining

12.2

Accommodation and food services

3.6

In educational services, 62.7 percent of establishments reported increasing telework after the start of the pandemic. In information, 60.9 percent of establishments expanded telework, and in professional and business services, 53.1 percent increased telework during the pandemic. In contrast, only 3.6 percent of establishments in accommodation and food services and 12.2 percent of those in natural resources and mining expanded telework during the pandemic.

Among establishments that increased telework, 79.5 percent of  those in information and 73.7 percent of those in professional and business services expected  telework to continue after the end of the pandemic.

Percent of private sector establishments with increased telework that expected the increase to continue after the COVID-19 pandemic ends, 2021
Industry Percent

Information

79.5%

Professional and business services

73.7

Educational services

61.7

Other services, except public administration

61.5

Arts, entertainment, and recreation

60.9

Utilities

60.3

Total U.S., private sector

60.2

Financial activities

60.0

Health care and social assistance

59.5

Accommodation and food services

57.9

Wholesale trade

57.1

Transportation and warehousing

51.5

Manufacturing

50.4

Construction

50.1

Retail trade

49.7

Natural resources and mining

49.6

Of the establishments in educational services that increased telework, 61.7 percent expected the increase to continue after the pandemic ends. In comparison, 49.6 percent of establishments in natural resources and mining and 49.7 percent of retail trade establishments that increased telework expected the increase to continue.

In nearly all industries, over half of establishments that increased telework expected the increase to continue after the pandemic ends.

These data are from the Business Response Survey to the Coronavirus Pandemic. For more information, see "U.S. Business Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic — 2021" and more charts on how businesses responded to the pandemic.

SUGGESTED CITATION

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Over one-third of private-sector establishments increased telework during the COVID-19 pandemic at https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2022/over-one-third-of-private-sector-establishments-increased-telework-during-the-covid-19-pandemic.htm (visited January 27, 2023).

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