American office workers are back…So is Covid.

Published: 18. 10. 2023

American workers are back in the office, as employers are finally getting the upper hand. “Fewer than 26% of US householders still have someone working remotely at least one day a week, a sharp decline from the early-2021 peak of 37%,” writes Bloomberg. At this point, only 7 states have a rate that’s above 33%. In many states, more workers are looking for remote positions than companies are offering. Nationwide, the number of job postings offering remote work has fallen from 10.2% in 2022 to 8.5%. Goldman Sachs Group now demands its employees spend five days per week in the office. (here’s a link to the unlocked article)

That corresponds with data about the mass exodus of workers from New York City during the pandemic. Home sales boomed back in those days, while Manhattan’s restaurants suffered. It appears that those people aren’t moving back, but they’re now driving into the city. Connecticut (the state to the north) has seen its remote-work rate plummet from 46% in 2021 to 28%, while commuter train usage is back to 70% of its pre-pandemic levels.

Guess who else is back? Ironically, it’s Covid-19, the same virus that drove workers away in the first place. Figures in the Czech Republic remain relatively low, but health experts warn that’s because people now self-diagnose the infection. However, studies now show the presence of the virus in Prague’s wastewater is now at similar levels as in during the pandemic. “When we compare the way the graph rose in 2021 with today, it’s almost the same,” says Jan Bartáček from VŠCHT. “We can see there’s quite of a bit of the virus circulating in the population.” Current figures show around 4,000 infections on any given day. He says the corresponding figure back in 2021 was closer to 23,000. That matches what we’re all hearing these days. So, if you’re exhausted, feverish and have a raging sore throat, now you know.

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