The U.S. cities seeing the biggest drop in workers, according to online meeting data

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Roughly 1 in 5 Americans have relocated during the coronavirus pandemic or know someone who did, according to Pew data from June, and more could be making the move as remote work becomes a permanent fixture of many workers' lives.

Already, major cities have seen a sharp drop in workers, according to user data from LogMeIn's GoToMeeting platform, which averaged 28 million monthly users in 2019 and has yet to publicly disclose new stats for 2020. While the number of online meetings overall spiked as much as 10 times due to the pandemic, the company tells CNBC Make It, average monthly meetings dropped in several major U.S. cities between November 2019 and November 2020. The cities that saw the biggest percentage drop include:

  • Chicago: down by 33%
  • Boston: down by 28%
  • New York City: down by 25%
  • San Francisco: down by 22%

LogMeIn also analyzed user IP addresses to look at meeting activity by state today compared with pre-pandemic activity a year ago.

In California, about half of workers logging into video meetings continue to do so from the state. Among the rest who've left, workers are most likely to have moved to nearby Utah, as well as New Jersey and Texas.

New York has retained the lowest share of workers compared with pre-pandemic levels, according to meeting data, with just 28% of meeting participants staying within the state. The greatest share of out-of-state movers, 11%, traveled all the way to California, followed by residents who left for neighboring New Jersey and then Texas.

While time will tell whether these migration patterns reflect workers temporarily relocating out of the city due to the pandemic, or if they've made permanent moves to less populated areas, "it's interesting to see how quickly some of these shifts happened," says LogMeIn's chief of staff Chris Perrotti. Shortly after LogMeIn announced its own permanent remote-work policy, Perrotti moved himself and his family from Boston to Vermont.

"We are seeing trends that suggest many people, myself included, now have the ability to choose to live in a location with more space or is less impacted by Covid-19. It's clear this is a momentous shift in how, and most importantly where, we work."

According to the platform, average meeting activity remains highest overall in Newark, New Jersey; New York City; Houston; Chicago and Philadelphia during the pandemic.

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