(Bloomberg) – A college degree can make a big difference.
About 13 million more Americans were back in the workplace in August compared with May, as fewer education, manufacturing and transportation workers reported working from home due to the pandemic. That leaves an even greater gap between those who can take shelter from the coronavirus and those who must be physically present at work when lockouts are lifted, according to data released Friday by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Among a quarter of U.S. employees still working from home due to the pandemic, a majority were in jobs such as IT, legal and finance, the data showed. Asian workers were the group most likely to telecommute, while Hispanic workers were the least likely.
“It is clear from the data that higher skilled and better paid occupations are still working from home in large numbers,” said Adam Ozimek, chief economist at Upwork (NASDAQ :), a job listing website. “Some of the management occupations are 50% or more and you go down to the service occupations and you speak in single digits.” He said he viewed the large number of people who stay out of offices as a positive as it reduced overcrowding and potential exposure to the virus. The disease has sickened more than 6 million people in the United States and killed an estimated 187,000.
The Covid-19 epidemic has highlighted inequalities in the workforce, allowing better paid and more educated people – often white or Asian – to isolate themselves more easily than those in lesser jobs. well paid in industries such as retail and manufacturing that require close contact with others. Data has consistently shown that black Americans are twice as likely to die from the virus as white Americans.
Education is also in the places where people can do their jobs, which also explains some of the disparities. For workers with a high school diploma or less, about 12% worked from home in August. For those with at least some college level, 44% telecommuted, while more than half of employees with graduate degrees were distant, according to BLS data. Asian and white workers are more likely to have a college education than black or Hispanic workers, according to the BLS.
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