(Bloomberg)—Workers who never have to go back to an office are leaving high-cost cities like New York and San Francisco for warm weather and low taxes in the Sun Belt.
Yelp, known for its crowdsourced reviews of businesses, analyzed three years of internal data on its own workforce, which is fully remote. It found the share of workers living near its office locations plunged between 2019 and 2022, with its headquarters in San Francisco seeing the most dramatic drop (down 70%), followed by New York, Washington, DC, and Chicago (each down 67%).
In the same period, the number of Yelp workers living in Florida and Texas jumped by four times.
“Many of the employees we’ve spoken with moved away from former office locations to areas with a lower cost of living, with some individuals purchasing their first home or enjoying a slower place of life,” said Carmen Whitney Orr, the company’s chief people officer.
Yelp co-founder Jeremy Stoppelman declared that the company would embrace remote work last June, shuttering its “consistently underutilized” offices in New York, Chicago and Washington, DC, which were less than 2% full on average each week. The company had 4,400 workers at the end of 2021.
Yelp employees aren’t the only ones fleeing cramped urban apartments and expensive city life. American workers have been moving away from expensive coastal cities for years. But that migration trend was supercharged during the pandemic and has continued into 2023 as inflation drives up the cost of living.
In 2022, Yelp’s workers lived in more than 1,300 different cities, up 50% from 2019.
To contact the author of this story: Paulina Cachero in New York at [email protected]
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