Since the Covid-19 pandemic forced millions of workers out of their offices, questions have loomed about the rise of remote work and what it means for cities large and small. Some cities have focused their economic development efforts on trying to attract potentially newly remote workers to move to their area.
The nature of work is indeed changing, and some workers will indeed move to new locales. But with little evidence that workers will relocate en masse, migration shouldn’t be the focus of cities’ efforts. Instead of luring remote workers during a period in which U.S. migration has remained historically low, city leaders should strive to make their regional economy and recovery work for the people and businesses already there, including by dismantling the local practices and norms that have stifled the economic potential of so many Black and Latino or Hispanic workers and entrepreneurs.