The end – or at least a substantial easing – of the COVID-19 pandemic is in sight, but the titanic shift to remote working that it has fostered is likely to endure, at least to some extent.
And a trend that allows many Americans to work anywhere is likely to result in a reshuffle of the country’s 403 metropolitan areas, with some losing residents no longer attached to local offices and others gaining citizens who can work. at home and enjoy a better lifestyle.
Moody’s Analytics has identified the metropolitan areas most likely to become winners and losers from potentially millions of movements of people across the country. He revealed that cities in the Northeast are the most vulnerable to an exodus of residents, while the South and West are most likely to gain, accelerating trends that have been brewing for decades.
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“People are now free to choose where to live, regardless of where they work,” says Moody’s economist Dante DeAntonio.
Well, at least some people.
Last year, about 32% of the workforce, largely white-collar workers, was remote, DeAntonio says. A Gartner survey of human resources managers at 130 companies in December found that 90% plan to let employees work remotely at least part of the time, even after a large portion of the population is vaccinated.
Closing of offices, departure of workers
Many workers, of course, won’t be able to take stakes unless they can work remotely all the time. Thirteen percent of executives say they will close their offices permanently, according to a PricewaterhouseCoopers survey from Nov. 24 to Dec. 5.
Both surveys, however, tend to survey large companies. Small businesses may be even more willing to let their employees telecommute.
To highlight the most vulnerable cities, DeAntonio focused on those that held a significant share of jobs in industries that allowed many employees to telecommute during the pandemic, based on monthly surveys conducted by the Census Bureau and the Department of Labor.
Employees in information, finance, and professional and business services were more likely to work from home. Next, he determined which of those metropolitan areas are affected by relatively high cost of living and poor quality of life, according to Moody’s indexes of features such as green spaces, recreation facilities, and ‘walking / cycling’. “.
To identify the cities that stand to gain from the remote workstation, Moody’s simply looked at those with relatively low cost of living and high quality of life. Keep in mind that there is no exact science in rankings. Many people end up moving to areas or to be closer to their families, DeAntonio says.
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With those caveats in mind, here’s a look at the five most vulnerable metropolitan areas, in no particular order:
The region is among the 1.5% of the best subways with jobs that may be distant, the top 4% for the cost of living and the 72.3 percentile for the quality of life. Bridgeport struggles with high crime and poverty rates.
New York-North of NJ-White Plains
Despite its rich cultural facilities, the region is densely populated and congested. It ranks in the top 2.7% for subways with work that can be done from home, in the top 6.2% for cost of living, and in the 69.3 percentile for quality of life.
The metropolitan area ranks among the 6.2% of jobs that can be done remotely, the highest 6.5% for the cost of living and the 69.3 percentile for the quality of life. Like Bridgeport, the area suffers from high crime rates and poverty.
Washington, DC-north of VA-Md.
This region, which technically combines two metropolitan areas, is in the top 5% of jobs that can be distant, the top 7% in cost of living and 58.9 percentile in quality of life. DeAntonio, however, says the abundance of government-related jobs could protect her from an exodus of workers, as the positions may need to be filled near federal government agencies.
The region ranks in the top 0.7% of jobs that can be performed remotely, the top 10.7% for cost of living and the 53.9 percentile for quality of life.
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Here are the five metropolitan areas that could benefit from the remote working trend:
The city, which runs along Mobile Bay, is a suburb of Mobile. Its cost of living is at the moderate 55.2 percentile, while its quality of life is at the 90.4 percentile.
Eugene earns points because it is a college town (University of Oregon) which ranks her very easily on foot and is known for its natural environment and recreational activities such as biking, jogging and kayaking . The zone is at the 71.4 percentile of the cost of living and the 94.7 percentile of the cost of living.
Ithaca, New York
Another college town (Cornell University, Ithaca College), Ithaca is on the southern shore of Cayuga Lake. It is at the 46.5 percentile of the cost of living and the 93.5 percentile of the quality of life.
The vibrant arts community in the heart of the Berkshires has plenty of green spaces. It is at the 53 percentile for affordability and the 90.2 percentile for quality of life.
Port Saint Lucie, Florida
One of the most affordable areas on Florida’s Treasure Coast, it ranks at the 70.4 percentile for cost of living and 91.4 percentile for quality of life.