Boston’s office-using employment is resilient in the face of COVID-19

Only 6 percent of all job losses have been at office-using companies, 3rd–lowest among top US markets

November 10, 2020
Office-using job losses, peak-to-trough
Office-using job losses (%)
  • The ultimate demand driver for office space across Boston is the number of employees in the office-using sectors of Information, Professional/Business Services, and Finance & Insurance. Together they account for 30% of the workforce.

  • Six months into the COVID-19 downturn, job losses in office-using sectors have amounted to 14,800 of the 235,800-total reduction in headcount across Greater Boston.

  • At 6% of total job losses, it compares favorably to the major recessions of the 2000s, in which 23% and 51% of job losses were in office-using sectors, severely impacting office rents.

  • Boston’s office market has shown to be one of the most resilient among top-tier US metros, Only Dallas and Seattle have office jobs representing a smaller share of job losses.

  • Early indicators from October signal a forthcoming increase in layoffs in office-using sectors. Nearly 20% of statewide initial unemployment claims in October were in office-using sectors, a significant increase over the rate seen in prior months.

  • Overall, this job data presents a silver lining. Boston’s highly educated and technical workforce have had their headcount hold firm throughout the first six months of the economic fallout. While it may rise, it still represents a relatively small portion compared against peer markets and past recessions.