In an ongoing CivicScience survey, the percentage of American workers who say they are (or would be) comfortable returning to work immediately has climbed from 49% to 60% over the past two weeks. 

In the same time frame, the proportion of the workforce that won’t be comfortable with returning to the office for a while yet (at least 6 months) has fallen from an all-time peak of 27% down to 19%.

Employees’ overall level of concern about their own jobs also ticked downward over the past week:

It appears this more hopeful attitude toward in-person work is bearing out in the workplace as well. More and more working Americans continue to return to regular, in-person work, with this category reaching a pandemic-high 51% last week. This coincides with decreases to the numbers of those who aren’t working and those whose hours / pay have been reduced. Remote work appears to have stabilized at around 20% of the overall workforce.

The Back-To-School Factor

This new sense of optimism about returning to work comes as students are beginning to return to schools and colleges. Working parents who are “very comfortable” with sending their kids back to school are more than three times as likely to say they’re willing to return to work within a month than parents who say they’re “not at all comfortable” with their kids going back to school. A majority (61%) of the parents who are “somewhat comfortable” with kids going back to school say they’d be willing to return to work within a month as well.

Predictions for Jobs, Economy

Despite slightly rosier predictions recently for the future of the U.S. job market, about half (49%) of all U.S. adults still think it will be harder to find a new job 6 months from now than it is today.

Nearly as many (42%) think the overall U.S. economy will be worse off 6 months from now as well.

It appears that a solid majority of Americans have either returned to work already or are comfortable with doing so as soon as possible. Workers are becoming more comfortable with their own job statuses and becoming slightly more hopeful about the future of the U.S. economy and job market overall. CivicScience will keep monitoring these trends as the pandemic continues to affect the U.S. this fall.