Zoomtowns: These cities are prime real estate for remote workers

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A new LinkedIn report highlights the top cities for remote workers. While many remote workers are opting for smaller scenic areas, plenty are choosing larger metros, including four cities in Florida.

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Image: GettyImages/Halfpoint Images

Over the last year, so-called Zoomtowns have boomed as some remote workers, no longer tethered to a specific city or daily commute, hit the open road. Earlier this month, LinkedIn published a post highlighting both small and large U.S. cities that are home to a disproportionate share of remote job applicants.

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Zoomtowns boom amid work from home

At the onset of COVID-19, companies around the globe switched to remote work virtually overnight. On short notice, the nontraditional work arrangement primarily used as an intermittent perk for on-site employees became the status quo, and some companies have made long-term commitments to remote work.

For perspective, telecommuter opportunities represented nearly one-third of all U.S. job postings on LinkedIn last month, according to the company, compared to 9.8% one year prior and 2.8% before the onset of COVID-19 in January 2020. Nationally, 21.3% of applications on LinkedIn were remote job applications between August 2020 and August 2021, per the post. While this represents a large chunk of all opportunities, these off-site positions are gobbling up a markedly larger share among workers in certain cities.

A LinkedIn graphic breaks down the list of small and large cities “where U.S. job seekers are most likely to apply for remote work.”

10 smaller U.S. cities for remote work

From August 2020 to August 2021, the percentage of remote job applications in Bend, Oregon was 41.8%, which is nearly double the national average, making the scenic Beaver State mountain town the top small city listed. The other five smaller cities include Asheville, North Carolina (38.7%), Wilmington, Delaware (35.9%), Johnson City, Tennessee (35.2%) and Eugene, Oregon (34.9%).

Sarasota-North Port, Florida (34.6%), Pensacola, Florida  (34.5%), Portland, Maine (33.9%), Myrtle Beach, South Carolina (33.9%). and Roanoke, Virginia (32.4%) complete the top 10 smaller cities.

Specific remote Asheville job categories that are “working out for residents” include positions in medical billing, recruiting, data analysis and online instruction, according to the post, with Wilmington including “many” of these same positions, as well as legal work, content marketing and IT/technical support roles.

10 larger U.S. metros for remote work

While smaller cities are popular locations for remote workers, many professionals still appear to favor bustling metropolitan areas. Among larger cities, Cape Coral, Florida (33.1%), Charleston, South Carolina (31.6%) and the Tampa Bay area (29.6%), Florida round out the top three, according to LinkedIn, followed by Jacksonville, Florida (29.4%), Orlando, and Hampton Roads, Virginia (28.1%), in order.

With remote applications representing 28.1% of the total applications, Omaha, Nebraska ranked as the seventh large metro area for professionals applying for telecommuter positions, followed by Kentucky’s Derby City (Louisville, Kentucky) (26.9%), Las Vegas, Nevada (26.4%), and Salt Lake City, Utah (26.3%).

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Methodology notes

The report is based on LinkedIn’s Economic Graph team data and focuses on cities where U.S. “job seekers are most likely to apply for remote work” with a 100,000 population cutoff distinguishing between larger and smaller cities, according to LinkedIn. The team used minimum job application thresholds (5,000 remote applications for smaller cities and 100,000 for larger cities).

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