It remains nowhere near the most popular American commute, however. Three in 4 workers, or more than 111 million people, still drive alone to the office or factory each day.
Carpooling comes in second, well above working from home. The share of Americans who carpool has lost ground since the Great Recession, though it remains far more popular than other methods, such as walking, biking or taking a cab.
In addition to these full-time workers, a separate Labor Department release this week found that 15 percent of workers worked at home for at least one full day, and that 25 percent worked from home occasionally. A third of those folks weren’t paid for their efforts.
Hispanic workers are half as likely to work from home as non-Hispanic ones, and black workers are much less likely to work at home than white or Asian ones.
Work-from-home arrangements are more common in more-skilled professions, such as management, business and finance, and among workers with advanced education, Labor Department data shows.
The probability of working from home increases with age. Workers over 65 work from home at twice the average rate, Census Bureau data shows. A recent analysis of U.S. Patent Office employees, available as a working paper, hints that workers are willing to retire later if their work arrangements are more flexible.
More broadly, working from home is most common in less-dense states that have large white populations and ample opportunities for outdoor recreation. People are likeliest to work from home in Colorado, Oregon, Vermont, Montana, Utah and New Hampshire. Some of them are refugees from the endless commutes of the nation’s large metros, like The Post’s Chris Ingraham, who wrote an entire book about fleeing a Maryland suburb to work remotely from his home in northern Minnesota.
As a share of the labor force, the work-from-home population has risen most sharply in Utah since 2010. The state has been testing a work-from-home program for its employees, Bethany Rogers of the Salt Lake Tribune reported this summer, and will roll it out more widely after finding that workers’ productivity rose more than 20 percent in the test period.
The Utah finding is backed up by a widely cited analysis published by the Quarterly Journal of Economics in 2015. In it, economists found that employees at a large Chinese travel agency who were randomly assigned to work from home were 13 percent more productive, both because they worked more quickly and because they took fewer breaks and sick days. The economists subsequently found that, among workers who actively chose to work from home, productivity rose 22 percent.
Spencer Cox, Utah’s lieutenant governor, told Rogers the program could create opportunities in the state’s less-populated areas.
“Imagine what that does to a rural community now, when you take your family, your kids, a job making $60,000 a year or whatever and take that back to a small town with high unemployment,” Cox said.