Is 50% the New (Metro) RTO?


I mentioned a few weeks ago how much better Europe‘s return to office rate was doing versus ours: 90+% RTO, while the USA is ~60%. I cannot speak to Europe, but that U.S. number is an average across all regions, industries, age groups, etc. In some parts of the country, it is appreciably higher or lower; as you might imagine, it varies greatly.

The biggest drag? Big cities.

As Torsten Slok’s chart above shows, the biggest metropolitan employment centers run lower than the national average — which is about 50%. The range is surprisingly wide, from mids-30s to upper-60s: Austin,1 Texas is in the mid-60% range; San Jose is in the high-30%; San Francisco, D.C., and Philidelphia are low-40%. New York City, the biggest US metro center, is one of the laggards with an office occupancy rate of 46%.

Hybrid work models are now well-established. This leads Slok to ask a fascinating question: Is 50% the new permanent level in most metropolitan areas for RTO?

It just might be…



Of Course WFH is “Really Working” (March 29, 2023)

WFH vs RTO (February 16, 2023)

Why Aren’t There Enough Workers? (December 9, 2022)

Sorry, We’re Closed (March 13, 2020)




1. One of the funniest things a client ever said to us was that “Austin is the blueberry smack dab in the middle of Texas’ raspberry pie.” I really love that line…


Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Posted Under