Coronavirus lockdown devastates US economy as only 37 out of every 100 jobs can be done from home, says report
The National Bureau of Economic Research's study has found the education sector to be least hit by the remote-working option while hotel and restaurant services have suffered the most
With governments across the world putting people in lockdown owing to the coronavirus pandemic which has claimed over 82,000 lives worldwide, working from home has become the rule of the day as the economy downturns to create a massive scare of recession.
But even then, not all are as fortunate to avail the opportunity to work from the safety of their homes. In fact, in the US, that is not an option at all for two-thirds of workers.
A recent report from the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) has revealed this grim reality. It has been found that working remotely is associated with jobs that are high-paying but for sectors like hospitality and agriculture, it is not a viable choice and they are set to take a big hit.
The NBER report, which has been prepared by Jonathan Dingel and Brent Neiman of the University of Chicago’s School of Business and gives an input predicting the economy's performance during the ongoing and subsequent periods of social distancing, showed that only 37 out of 100 American jobs can be done remotely.
The report also identified industries that will be worst hit by the pandemic and could be extended social insurance and other forms of government support. As part of the study, Americans were asked to tell about the types of activities their jobs included daily.
The information gathered was then compared with the data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics about various industrial sectors and then the final analysis was taken up.
A recent report said that 10 million Americans lost their jobs in just a few weeks, showing the plummeting conditions of the world’s largest economy in the wake of the outbreak.
The sector where most people could do their work remotely was found to be education with 83 out of 100 able to do it. Other industries that also found them fortunate to have shifted to work-from-home mode are finance, insurance, corporate management, professional services and information technology.
Hotel, restaurant services least adaptable to remote working
The sectors that could least adapt themselves to the work-from-home mode were accommodation and food services where only four percent of the jobs could be done from home. Retail, construction, transportation, agriculture and warehousing are other sectors that offered minimal opportunity for remote operation.
The report also did some geographical analysis and it was found that metropolitan clusters had the most instances of jobs being done through telecommuting.
The San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara metropolitan region of California was where telecommuters adapted the most as 51 percent of the region's jobs came from positions that could do the work from home.
Washington DC-Arlington-Alexandria; Durham-Chapel Hill, NC; Austin-Round Rock, TX; and San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA also were found to be places with high adaptability to work from home, it added.
Cape Coral-Fort Myers in Florida, on the other hand, showed only 28 percent of local jobs that could be accomplished from home.
On the question of productivity, the report said that even for those working from home, there could be a fall in the productivity level in the lockdown period.
The report said: "It is not straightforward to use these values to estimate the share of output that would be produced under stringent stay-at-home policies. An individual worker’s productivity may differ considerably when working at home rather than her usual workplace."
In the US, almost 400,000 people have been affected by the coronavirus while the death toll stands at nearly 13,000.