Even before the emergence of the Omicron variant, it was clear that the office recovery had started to falter in the face of the ongoing recovery. 

Occupancy fell by 2 million square feet as of November, compared to the third quarter in 2021, bringing the total loss in office occupancy to 133 million square feet, according to the National Association of Realtors. This was despite an increase in occupancy of six million square feet during the third quarter and a decline in work-at-homes from 35% of American laborers during the pandemic to 12% in October.

"The factors of the ongoing pandemic, more people working from home (fully remote or hybrid) compared to the pre-pandemic level, the decline in office space per worker, and the tight job market all pose headwinds to absorbing this enormous amount of office space," wrote NAR Research Economist Scholastica Cororaton.

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