The State of the American Office: Suddenly Emptying Out Again Under the Second Wave

by Wolf Richter
Wolf Street

Office occupancy plunged by the most in Dallas. In San Francisco, where it had already been rock-bottom, it dipped into the single digits.

The second wave of the Pandemic is scrambling whatever efforts had been under way to bring workers back to the office. Companies are back-tracking, and cities are once again trying to keep office workers – those that were still or again going to the office – from going to the office.

Office occupancy fell broadly in the week through November 25, compared to the prior week, but the steepest deterioration was in the metros of Dallas, Houston, and Austin, where office occupancy had previously recovered the most. In the 10 largest metros, office occupancy plunged by 8.1 percentage points from the prior week, to just 17.6% of pre-Pandemic occupancy levels, the lowest since May 6, according to Kastle Systems, whose electronic access systems are installed in thousands of office buildings around the country. In other words, office occupancy as measured by people entering offices is down by 82.4% in those 10 cities compared to pre-Pandemic levels:

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