Is 50% the new RTO (Metro)?


I mentioned a few weeks ago the better europeThe rate of return to the office was doing against ours: 90+% RTO, while the US is ~60%. I can’t speak to Europe, but that US 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 can imagine, it varies a lot.

The biggest drag? Big cities.

As the graph above by Torsten Slok shows, the largest metropolitan employment centers perform below the national average, which is around 50%. The range is surprisingly wide, from the mid-30s to the upper 60s: Austin,1 Texas is in the mid-60% range; San Jose is in the top 30%; San Francisco, DC and Philidelphia are under 40%. New York City, the largest metropolitan center in the US, 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 metro areas for RTO?

Could be…



Of course the WFH is “really working” (March 29, 2023)

WFH vs RTO (February 16, 2023)

Why aren’t there enough workers? (December 9, 2022)

sorry we are closed (March 13, 2020)




1. One of the funniest things a customer told us was that “Austin is the hint of blueberry in the middle of Texas raspberry pie.” I really love that line…


The charge Is 50% the new RTO (Metro)? first appeared in The panorama.

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