: Labor Department makes key change to jobs questionnaire to reflect key shift in white-collar work

The share of workers telecommuting because of the pandemic continued edging down, falling to 5.2% from 6.5% the previous month. The statistic about COVID-19-induced work-from-home keeps telling the story how America’s white collar workers are ebbing away from fully remote work.

The September jobs report marks the last time Bureau of Labor Statistics is presenting this data in its current version. There’s going to be changes in the questions because the queries in their current wording are “less relevant than they were earlier in the pandemic,” the agency says. Starting in May 2020, jobs reports have been providing information on COVID-related questions.

In October, the question became “At any time LAST WEEK did you telework or work at home for pay?” In May 2020, more than one third of America’s workforce, 35.4%, answered yes. The Bureau of Labor Statistics has not decided when it will publish the data.

Remote and hybrid work have become engrained in America’s white-collar sector as the pandemic fades. “The old question was becoming less relevant,” said Daniel Zhao, senior economist at Glassdoor.com

. It may be trickier these days to sift out who was away from the office because of the virus.

The labor department researchers say they are trying to gather more precise data to paint on the prevalence of remote and hybrid work. Earlier this week, a survey of CEOs in America and in other countries asked business leaders how they envisioned their staff’s working arrangements in the coming three years.

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