Metropolitan Job Sprawl
A pair of Brookings Institution studies of “job sprawl” — a counterpart to the better-known phenomenon of urban sprawl — found that the decentralization of jobs grew steadily in the largest 98 metro areas during the pre-recession period, but then stabilized between 2007 and 2010. Only slightly more than a fifth of employees in the biggest metro areas work within 3 miles of downtown, while more than two-fifths work more than 10 miles from the city center. Decentralization characterized almost all urban areas and industries examined.
The first study examined 1998-2006 data, ending the study period at the latter date to avoid the possibly confounding influence of the recent recession. The largest 98 metropolitan areas include two-thirds of U.S. employees. See Job Sprawl Revisited: The Changing Geography of Metropolitan Employment.
The second study, Job Sprawl Stalls: The Great Recession and Metropolitan Employment Location, concluded that job losses in industries hit hardest by the downturn, including construction and manufacturing, helped check employment decentralization in the late 2000s. Despite the recession’s impact, in all but 9 of the 100 largest metro areas the share of jobs located within three miles of downtown declined during the 2000s. Only Washington, D.C. experienced an increase in both the number and share of jobs located in the urban core during the 2000s.
The data used come from the Census Bureau’s ZIP Code Business Patterns, part of the County Business Patterns site (such data are now available through 2011).
Modified On : May 08, 2013
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In Relation : State and Local Data (Misc.)