Levanon said that the great advantage of the ACS in this analysis is the level of detail in the coding of occupations. The ACS microdata permit researchers to drill down to very detailed levels of occupations—roughly the equivalent of the 6-digit Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) codes used in other federal statistical data products. From the experience of working with the occupation variables, Levanon raised an issue for future work and clarification by the Census Bureau—working to make the occupational codes more comparable over time, because changes in the occupation coding can make it difficult to construct coherent time series. Indeed, Levanon noted, he and his Conference Board colleagues worked with IPUMS data—and its more aggressive coding to promote comparability over time (see Section 6–B)—on this project, and they ultimately wound up primarily using IPUMS’ OCC1990 variable—a recode to 389 occupational categories based on the occupation codes used in the 1990 census.
Levanon said that it is evident from looking at the work-from-home data by very detailed occupation that there are some work types for which work-from-home is very common, with potential teleworkers making up 10 percent or more of the workforce in some categories. Levanon’s tabulations show one detailed category has a work-from-home percentage that dwarfs all others: medical transcriptionists, with 44.6 percent of workers in that class reporting that they work primarily at home. Other job categories with sizable work-at-home contingents (over 10 percent) include sales engineers/sales representatives and travel agents—jobs in which employers might have incentive to save costs by reducing or eliminating office space for people who may not need to be in the office very often. Other occupational categories with fairly strong telework levels are information technology-related careers, such as web developers, computer network architects, and computer hardware engineers.
Comparing work-from-home estimates from early in the decade (averages from ACS files from 2001–2003) with those late in the decade (2008–2010 average), Levanon also observed that some occupations have experienced particularly strong growth in telework. For some categories, this suggests that networks and remote access tools have developed sufficiently over the decade to make employers more comfortable with the telework option: For instance, telework among records clerks grew from 0.9 percent (2001–2003) to 5.5 percent (2008–2010) and among travel agents from 1.8 percent to 5.9 percent. Insurance underwriters and bill/account collectors were job categories where telework more than doubled over the decade. Still other job categories with fairly strong work-from-home levels did not experience the same amount of growth, which Levanon said was likely due to the fact that improvements in technology could not or would not greatly affect the ability to work from home—these include door-to-door sales vendors (a more modest growth from 5.1 percent to 7.1 percent) and clergy and religious workers (among whom work-from-home decreased slightly, from 6.7 percent to 6.2 percent).
Levanon said that he and his colleagues have also observed interesting dif-