By the numbers: Work-from-home surge transforms NJ economy
TRENTON – Close to 1 million New Jerseyans a day worked from home in 2021, according to Census Bureau estimates from its American Community Survey that underscore the massive changes brought on by the pandemic.
Working from home had become gradually more popular in the state throughout the 2010s, growing from around 145,000 workers in 2010 to 175,000 in 2015 to 217,000 in 2019, when it accounted for nearly one in every 20 workers in New Jersey.
There is no data for 2020, COVID’s disruptive first year. But the estimates for 2021 show that around 977,500 people worked from home, which is 22% of all the residents employed – more than one in five. That’s a 350% increase between 2019 and 2021.
The data from the American Community Survey is an estimate, as not every household receives the questionnaire. Like a poll, then, it has a margin of error. The number of people working from home is listed as 977,514, plus or minus 14,144 – so, statisticians are confident the number was between 962,370 and 992,658.
The work-from-home crowd got younger as it expanded in popularity. The median age had been approximately 48 to 49 years old over the prior decade, but that dropped to 44.3 years in 2021.
The number of New Jerseyans working out of state fell from around 647,000 to around 407,000.
Most other forms of commuting dropped off between 2019 and 2021, except for people bicycling or taking a cab.
The number of people driving to work dropped by 15%. The number taking public transportation was down 49%, no surprise given that NJ Transit’s weekday traffic still lags while it has rebounded on the weekends.