The COVID-19 pandemic definitely hastened the trend toward remote work. As more workers were able to perform their jobs from their homes, people realized they were not tethered to an office cubicle in a particular city. Many workers feel that remote work gives the freedom and flexibility to balance work/family lives. Consequently, many looked into relocating. But the question is where to move to? (These are metro areas with the biggest pandemic population increase.)
To identify the states receiving the most interest in remote work, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the report Here are the States & Cities Where People are Most Interested in Remote Work from Today Testing. The site looked at the increase in search interest in remote work two years after COVID-19 began (March 11, 2020, was when COVID-19 was declared a pandemic in the U.S.). Total population figures come from the Census Bureau’s 2020 American Community Survey Five-year Estimates. Average new daily COVID-19 cases are a seven-day moving average. COVID-19 data is from local, state, and federal sources.
To be sure, workers have gotten a taste of remote work and are reluctant to give it up. A recent report by McKinsey & Co. and market research firm Ipsos surveyed 25,000 Americans from a wide range of industries in the spring. A third (35%) said they have the option to work from home five days a week, which McKinsey extrapolates to an estimated total of 55 million workers. Meanwhile, 87% indicated they would take the opportunity to work remotely if given the chance. “The flexible working world was born of a frenzied reaction to a sudden crisis but has remained as a desirable job feature for millions,” the report concludes.
The state receiving the most hits for remote work is North Carolina. Interest in the Tar Heel State leaped more than 50% two years after the pandemic. Yet its average new daily cases and all-time COVID-19 cases since Aug. 14 are seventh and sixth highest in the nation, respectively.
Regionally, the South appears to be where remote workers want to settle. Rounding out the top five behind North Carolina are South Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, and Florida. (Conversely, these are the cities that lost the most residents in 2021.)
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