Economist Mike Walden: The Rise of Telecommuting

I’m Mary Walden, with economist MW, welcoming you to the economic perspective.   Today’s program looks at the rise of telecommuting.   Mike, I can remember decades ago when the desktop computer premiered that experts said many people would soon be working for home and giving up their commute to work.  Reality doesn’t appear to have met expectations, so where do we stand today with telecommuting?

  1. About 5.5% of the workforce telecommutes today
  2. Small, but recently has grown – was 4% four years ago
  3. Also – as might expect – varies by job – 12% of professional workers telecommute, compared to only 3% of those in government
  4. But highest is among self-employed people – 24% telecommute
  5. Recent jump in telecommuting based on several factors – technology can allow us to do more remotely – even attend meetings; increased traffic congestion; and encouragement by some companies who want to reduce investments in buildings
  6. Last fact – more people today telecommute than use public transportation

And I’m Mary Walden for the Economic Perspective, an NC State Extension program from the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics.