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Measuring Job Densification Trends in U.S. Metropolitan Areas

A new report details the trend of jobs densification in U.S. metropolitan areas between 2004 and 2015, finding a few large metropolitan areas leading an overall increase in jobs density. Still, many areas are seeing jobs disperse around the region.
June 20, 2019, 6am PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Chad Shearer, Jennifer S. Vey, and Joanne Kim share their findings from a new report on the trends in jobs density in U.S. metropolitan areas.

This report aims to help leaders and local stakeholders understand how the changing demands for place are shifting the concentration and dispersal of economic activity within 94 large metropolitan areas from 2004 to 2015—a period of dramatic urban and economic change.

The findings suggest a need for local leaders to embrace policies and investment strategies that advance more concentrated growth patterns, while also supporting transformative placemaking solutions that help such dense places become vibrant communities where businesses and workers thrive.

The article that shares the report includes a series of interactive graphics to illustrate the findings of the report. The key findings: U.S. metropolitan areas are experiencing a higher-than-expected rate of densification of job growth. Densification favored already-dense counties inside these metropolitan areas, and densification for the country was driven by four areas: New York, Chicago, San Francisco, and Seattle. "In fact, these four metro areas accounted for about 90% of the increase in job density seen among all 94 large metro areas during this period," according to the graphic. "In contrast, overall job density in the other 90 large metro areas increased only 9%."

Other interactive graphics break down the trends by industry sector and specific metropolitan areas. Trends varied dramatically between specific metropolitan areas. "Out of the 94 large metro areas in our study, only 48 posted an increase in job density from 2004 to 2015," according to the infographic. Job density declined in 46 metropolitan areas, like Sacramento, California; Cape Coral, Florida; Scranton, Pennsylvania; Youngstown, Ohio-Pennsylvania; and New Haven, Connecticut.

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Published on Tuesday, June 18, 2019 in Brookings Institution
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