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New Jobs and Distance

Screen Shot 2015-03-27 at 2.45.15 PMJob creation is on the upswing. However, according to the Brookings Institute they are getting further away from where unemployed Americans are living. In february 295,00 jobs were created. However, jobs that are within a typical commute for residents in a major metropolitan area dropped 7% between 2000 and 2012. Job proximity is important especially when commutes become expensive and moving is not feasible for cash poor citizens. Frictional unemployment is exasperated in these situations which leads to welfare dependence for longer periods of time than may be necessary. Cleveland has had the largest decrease in job proximity at negative 27% while Atlanta metro area job proximity decreased while the number of jobs actually increased by 2%. This has a lot to do with metro areas becoming more spread out. Job matching is harder when both jobs and jobless individuals are less concentrated in the cities and are spread throughout the suburbs.

It looks like initiatives need to be made not only for the creation of jobs but for job matching programs to help make sure that able bodied residents are being left out of the job market because of where they reside. 


  1. klinedinstc15 klinedinstc15

    It’s good to see that this issue is not being forgotten about — I feel like it’s not one that comes up often on the national news. Obviously very applicable to Shester’s Urban Econ class.

  2. grieve grieve

    I think this is especially important for families, as a man or woman with children is less likely to uproot and move somewhere else for a job then if he/she were single and independent.

  3. HeeJu HeeJu

    In poverty-related literatures, difference in residence and ability to commute long distance between the poor and rich is one of the most important topics. Policy makers and economist alike have hotly debated how should we approach to resolve this difference. I think one potential solution is increasing government investment in building more public transportation. Not only would it decrease frictional unemployment, it would also contribute to producing environmentally positive outcome such as reducing vehicle CO2 emission :).

  4. moorem15 moorem15

    This is a really interesting paper. When I read about new job figures each month, I never stop to think about particulars of the job, such as proximity.

  5. sandersm15 sandersm15

    From what some of the literature that I have read on this issue has discussed, this is an issue that, in many cases, compounds on itself. In other words, metro areas that have low rates of employment (and higher poverty) are less enticing for new employers to create businesses and jobs in. As a result, unemployed individuals in these areas likely have fewer and fewer job opportunities available in a close proximity.

  6. An interesting topic and good comments.

    Detroit is an example of this sort of challenge. In part due to its history, there was little land available inside the city so new factories (and new banks and medical centers) were inevitably built on the far side of the suburbs. There was no public transportation, and the jobs were hard to land for urbanites relative to suburbanites, as the former tended to have the wrong skin color and lacked networks into such locations even when they didn’t face outright discrimination. If you are poorer you also need to have a working spouse, and that increases the tensions, because jobs are going to be in widely separated locations which makes child care a challenge and leaves no residential options that will improve things. Sprawl is physically ugly, but this post argues it is also an ugly outcome for society as a whole.

  7. Stephen Moore Stephen Moore

    This is very interesting in light of the current unemployment rate. The current unemployment is very close to the natural unemployment rate, but the story may not be as great as the numbers suggest.

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