A look at jammed freeways and clogged thoroughfares in morning drive suggests Americans have largely returned to driving to work. A Katz analysis of Nielsen's new Scarborough Supplemental Study confirms that observation. It looked at the status of the American workforce to see what the lingering impacts of the pandemic are in fourth quarter and what to expect next year in terms of working from home and commuting.
As of October, seven in ten employed adults are commuting to a job outside the home, the analysis shows. That includes those who continued to do so throughout the pandemic (49%), and those who had stopped working outside the home, but have since resumed their commute (23%). Among the 28% that are working from home, Scarborough data shows 11% plan to go back to work at a location soon. Only one in ten employed adults (9%) will continue to work from home due to the pandemic, and the remaining 9% are individuals who had already been working from home before March 2020.
In another data point showing the correlation between commuters and core broadcast radio listeners, heavy radio consumers are more likely than the average employed adult to be commuting (74%), and slightly less likely to say they will not be going back to work outside the home after working from home during the pandemic (8%).
The Scarborough data also suggests the car has become a more important component in consumers' lives over the past two years. “Cars have become a necessity for people who need to commute and still maintain a sense of comfort and safety, as well as those who moved out of cities,” Katz says in the analysis, published on its Sound Answers blog.
Employed adults will continue to rely on their car for commutes – both among those currently commuting, and those who will start commuting in the near future. One in five Americans (21%) plan to use their car more in the next six months.That number jumps to 26% among employed adults who will be returning to work outside the home, and to 28% for those adults currently looking for a job – likely signifying a desire to commute by car. Just over two-thirds (67%) of Americans expect to drive their car the same amount in the next six months, increasing to 72% for current commuters, who are exhibiting no desire to change their commuting habits.