Economic News Release

Work At Home Summary


Technical information:     (202) 691-6378      USDL 05-1768
                  http://www.bls.gov/cps/
                                               For release:  10:00 A.M. EDT
Media contact:                   691-5902      Thursday, September 22, 2005


                           WORK AT HOME IN 2004
                                     
                                     
   In May 2004, 20.7 million persons usually did some work at home as part
of their primary job, the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department
of Labor reported today.  These workers, who reported working at home at
least once per week, accounted for about 15 percent of total nonagricultural
employment in May 2004, essentially the same percentage as in May 2001.
(See table A.)

   These findings are from a special supplement to the May 2004 Current
Population Survey (CPS).  The CPS is a monthly survey of about 60,000
households that obtains information on employment and unemployment among
the nation's civilian nonistitutional population age 16 and over.  Data
on work at home were last collected in the CPS in May 2001.  The May 2001
data presented in this release have been revised to be comparable with
the May 2004 estimates.  For further information, see the Technical Note.

Occupation and Industry

   The likelihood of working at home varies greatly by occupation.  This is
not surprising, since some jobs are more readily done away from the workplace
than others.  Almost 30 percent of workers in management, professional, and
related occupations reported working at home in May 2004.  Nearly two-thirds
of persons who usually worked at home were employed in these occupations.
About 1 in 5 sales workers usually worked at home.  In contrast, only 3 per-
cent of workers in production, transportation, and material moving occupations
performed job-related work at home.  From an industry perspective, workers
employed in professional and business services, in financial activities, and
in education and health services were among the most likely to work at home
in 2004.  (See table 1.)

Pay Status

   Of the 13.7 million wage and salary workers who usually did some work at
home in 2004, about 3.3 million, or 1 in 4, had a formal arrangement with
their employer to be paid for the time they put in at home.  About half of
these paid home workers spent 8 hours or more per week working at home, and
about 1 in 7 put in 35 hours or more per week at home.  On average, those
with a formal arrangement to be paid for their work time at home logged
about 19 hours per week at home.  (See tables 3 and 6.)

   About three-fourths of wage and salary workers who did job-related work
at home on a regular basis did so without a formal arrangement to be paid
for this work.  Of these 10.2 million workers just taking work home from
the job, about 22 percent regularly worked 8 hours or more per week at
home.  Workers doing unpaid job-related activity at home averaged about
7 hours per week at home.  (See tables 4 and 6.)

                                  - 2 -

     Table A.  Job-related work at home on primary job by selected characteristics, May 2001
     and May 2004
     
     (Percent)
                                                                                                              
                                                                                                              
                                                 Persons who usually worked at home (1)     
                                                                                                              
                                                                                                              
                                                    Percent distribution by class of worker
                                                                     (2)                  
                                                                                                              
                     Characteristic         Percent                                         
                                            of total             Wage and salary            
                                            employed                                 Self-  
                                                      Total                        employed
                                                              Paid work   Unpaid     (3)   
                                                               at home   work at           
                                                                            ome            
                                                                                                                                                                                                                             
                      May 2001 r                                                                         
                                                                                                              
         Total, 16 years and over.........   14.9     100.0      17.1      51.9      30.2  
       Men................................   14.6     100.0      15.9      50.4      32.8  
       Women..............................   15.2     100.0      18.3      53.5      27.3  
                                                                                                              
       White(4)...........................   16.2     100.0      17.1      51.5      30.6  
       Black or African American(4).......    7.7     100.0      15.1      57.7      26.0  
       Asian(4)...........................   10.0     100.0      18.6      56.8      24.0  
       Hispanic or Latino ethnicity.......    6.6     100.0      18.5      48.8      31.4  
                                                                                                              
         Total, 25 years and over.........   16.7     100.0      16.9      51.7      30.5  
       Less than a high school diploma....    4.2     100.0      18.2      16.4      64.3  
       High school graduates,   
        no college(5).....................    7.9     100.0      17.9      31.5      49.5
       Some college or associate degree...   12.9     100.0      19.6      36.5      42.3
       Bachelor's degree and higher(6)....   32.3     100.0      15.6      63.1      20.7  
                                                                                                              
                      May 2004                                                                          
                                                                                                           
         Total, 16 years and over.........   15.1     100.0      16.2      49.3      33.7  
       Men................................   14.9     100.0      14.7      47.3      37.6  
       Women..............................   15.4     100.0      17.8      51.4      29.4  
                                                                                                              
       White(4)...........................   16.3     100.0      16.4      49.0      33.8  
       Black or African American(4).......    7.9     100.0      14.2      53.0      31.0  
       Asian(4)...........................   12.7     100.0      14.2      52.1      33.7  
       Hispanic or Latino ethnicity.......    7.1     100.0      19.1      45.0      34.4  
                                                                                                              
         Total, 25 years and over.........   17.0     100.0      16.0      49.1      34.0  
       Less than a high school diploma....    4.9     100.0      15.7      24.0      58.9  
       High school graduates, 
        no college(5).....................    7.6     100.0      15.4      28.7      54.0
       Some college or associate degree...   13.7     100.0      19.4      32.8      46.7  
       Bachelor's degree and higher(6)....   31.6     100.0      15.0      60.5      24.1  

       1 Persons who usually work at home are defined as those who work at home at least
     once per week as part their primary job.
       2 Unpaid family workers and wage and salary workers who did not report pay status
     are included in the total but are not shown separately.
       3 Includes both the incorporated and unincorporated self-employed.
       4 Beginning in 2003, includes persons who selected this race group only; persons
     who selected more than one race group are not included.  Prior to 2003, persons
     who reported more than one race group were included in the group they identified
     as their main race.  Asian data for 2001 include Pacific Islanders.
       5 Includes persons with a high school diploma or equivalent.
       6 Includes persons with bachelor's, master's, professional, and doctoral degrees.
       r = revised.  Data for May 2001 have been revised to incorporate population controls
     from Census 2000 and new industry and occupational classifications.  See the Technical
     Note for additional information.
       NOTE:  Data refer to employed persons in nonagricultural industries who reported that
     they usually work at home at least once per week as part of their primary job.  Esti-
     mates for the above race groups (white, black or African American, and Asian) do not
     sum to totals because data are not presented for all races.  In addition, persons whose
     ethnicity is identified as Hispanic or Latino may be of any race and, therefore, are
     classified by ethnicity as well as by race.


                                  - 3 -

   Among those with a formal arrangement to be paid for work at home, more
than half worked in management and professional jobs, and another 1 in 5
worked in sales occupations.  Managers and professionals accounted for
about four-fifths of those just taking work home from the job.  School-
teachers and instructors (excluding college) especially were likely
to take work home, with 2.8 million--or about half of all teachers--
reporting such activity in the May 2004 survey.  About 1 in 10 persons
who put in time at home without a formal arrangement worked in sales jobs.
(See tables 1, 3, and 4.)

Self-Employed Persons and Home-Based Businesses

   About one-third of persons who usually worked at home in May 2004 were
self-employed.  Of the 7.0 million self-employed persons who worked at
home, two-thirds had a home-based business--that is, a business run from
their home and no other location.  Nearly half of self-employed persons
with a home-based business worked at least 8 hours per week at home, and
almost 22 percent put in 35 hours or more at home.  On average, self-
employed persons with a home-based business worked 25 hours per week at
home.  (See tables 1 and 5.)

   About 45 percent of self-employed persons with home-based businesses
were in management, professional, and related occupations in May 2004.
Sixteen percent were employed in sales and related occupations.  On an
industry basis, about 1 in 4 self-employed persons with a home-based
business worked in professional and business services.  Some 18 percent
of persons with a home-based business were employed in the construction
industry.  (See table 5.)

Demographics

   Women and men were about equally likely to work at home in 2004, at
about 15 percent each.  Whites (16 percent) were twice as likely as blacks
(8 percent) and Hispanics or Latinos (7 percent) to work at home, reflect-
ing, at least in part, the relatively higher concentration of whites in
occupations that are associated with work at home.  Nearly 13 percent of
Asians worked at home in 2004.  The work-at-home rate for parents was
slightly higher than for persons without children.  Married persons were
more likely to work at home than their non-married counterparts.  (See
tables 1 and 2.)

   The likelihood of working at home increased with educational attainment.
Employed persons 25 years and over with a bachelor's degree or higher were
more than 6 times more likely to work at home as those without a high
school diploma (32 and 5 percent, respectively).  Much of this disparity
is due to the varying occupational patterns of workers with different
levels of education.  For example, college graduates are much more likely
to be employed in managerial and professional occupations--which have a
greater work-at-home rate--than are high school dropouts.  (See table 1.)

Reason for Job-Related Work at Home

   Among wage and salary workers who were taking work home without a formal
arrangement to be paid for that work, the most common reason for working at
home was to "finish or catch up on work" (56 percent).  An additional 32 per-
cent reported that they worked at home at least once per week because it
was the "nature of the job."  For those paid to work at home as part of a
formal arrangement with their employer, the reasons were more varied.  For
example, 40 percent reported it was the "nature of the job," 24 percent
indicated that "business is conducted from home," 13 percent worked at home
to "finish or catch up on work," and 9 percent arranged to work at home to
"coordinate work schedule with personal or family needs."  Almost half of
all self-employed workers--and more than 60 percent of those with home-
based businesses--indicated the main reason for working at home was because
their "business is conducted from home."  An additional 24 percent of self-
employed persons responded that it was the "nature of the job" to work at
home.  (See table 7.)

                                  - 4 -

Use of Electronic Equipment

   About 8 in 10 of those engaged in job-related work at home in May 2004
used a computer as part of their work at home, and just slightly fewer used
a telephone.  About 70 percent of all persons who usually worked at home
made use of the Internet or e-mail to work at home.  In general, wage and
salary workers who were paid to work at home as part of a formal arrange-
ment were more likely to use electronic equipment at home than those who
were just taking work home from the job.  (See table 6.)

Frequency of Work at Home

   The focus of this report is the 20.7 million persons who reported in May
2004 that they worked at home at least once per week.  The total number of
persons who reported that they worked at home in the May 2004 survey--
regardless of how often they engaged in home-based work activity--was 25.4
million (18.6 percent of total nonagricultural employment).  This includes,
in addition to those who usually worked at home, 1.9 million persons who
worked at home at least once every 2 weeks, 1.6 million who worked at home
at least once per month, and about 880,000 who worked at home less than
once per month.  While the total number of persons who reported some work
at home in the May 2004 survey was about the same as in May 2001, the share
working at home at least once per week (81 percent in May 2004) edged up
somewhat.  (See table 8.)






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Last Modified Date: September 22, 2005
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