Jobs keep creeping out of downtowns

By Haya El Nasser

jobsThe recession put the brakes on job growth but did nothing to reverse a decades-long trend: job sprawl. Despite the economic slump, the share of metropolitan areas’ jobs farther from downtowns increased from 2000 to 2010, according to Brookings Institution research out Thursday. The share of jobs located in or near a downtown declined in 91 of the nation’s 100 largest metropolitan areas.”Job sprawl continued steadily,” says Elizabeth Kneebone, author of the report and fellow at the Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program.The number of jobs more than 10 miles and up to 35 miles from city centers increased 1.2% the last decade. The number of jobs 10 miles away or less fell.In 2010, nearly twice the share of jobs (43%) were at least 10 miles from downtown as the share within 3 miles (23%). The share of jobs 10 to 35 miles from the city center grew in 85 of the metro areas.But there are signs of a counter-current. As young professionals flock to city centers, companies that want the best and brightest are starting to follow, says Joe Cortright, senior research adviser for CEOs for Cities, a national organization of urban leaders. “Suburban office locations are not as attractive as they once were,” he says. “A big factor is gas prices.”He points to Swiss financial giant UBS, which just moved its trading floor from suburban Connecticut to Manhattan to be closer to where younger workers live.

Read more Jobs keep creeping out of downtowns.

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