Portland's jobs flee the urban core

| Print |  Email
The Latest
Thursday, April 18, 2013

BY BRANDON SAWYER | OB RESEARCH EDITOR

04.18.13 Blog CommuteWhile residential flight to the suburbs ebbed in the last decade or two amid urban gentrification, most jobs are still migrating outward.  Today the Brookings Institution released a report, Job Sprawl Stalls: The Great Recession and Metropolitan Employment Location, showing jobs continued to radiate away from urban cores since the year 2000, despite the recession’s harsh effects on sprawl-prone industries like construction, retail and manufacturing.

In an accompanying release, report author and Brookings fellow Elizabeth Kneebone says, “Building a healthy and sustainable regional economy is not just about growing jobs, but also about where those jobs locate. Low-density, sprawling development can lead to increased energy consumption, strains on infrastructure, longer commute times, and greater challenges connecting workers to employment.”

In Portland’s metro area, a measly 2,963 total jobs were added (+0.3%) during the entire decade, yet the area 10 to 35 miles away from its central business district (CBD) gained 27,556 jobs (+3.1%), largely because 5,119 jobs were lost (-0.8%) in the area 3 to 10 miles from the CBD. The three-mile city core lost 19,474 jobs (-2.3%).

Presumably, factors that contributed to this flow include employers moving workforces to the outer reaches and more new businesses starting up there, as well as layoffs and closures close to the CBD. So as ever more residents living downtown or in inner Northeast Portland find themselves commuting out to suburban campuses of like Nike and HP, they are retracing in reverse their forbears path who once commuted to jobs in the city from ranch homes in Beaverton or Wilsonville.

Portland does compare somewhat favorably to the nation in terms of job sprawl. Just 29.5% of its 2010 jobs were 10-35 miles from the CBD versus 43.1% for the 100 largest U.S. metros. The bulk of Portland’s jobs, 46.8%, were 3-10 miles out, versus 34.1% nationally; 23.8% of Portland jobs and 22.9% of 100-metro average jobs were in the inner three miles. Western neighbors San Jose, Las Vegas and Salt Lake City were among the top five most job-centralized metro areas.

In the current decade, efforts to encourage bringing jobs back to its core could go a long way toward achieving Portland's goals of greater sustainability, infrastructure efficiency and economic vitality.

JobSprawl2010

JobSprawl2010.2

 

Research editor Brandon Sawyer digs heaps of data about privately-held and public companies, economics and industries.

 

More Articles

Chronicling Gov. Kitzhaber's march to resignation

The Latest
Wednesday, February 11, 2015
021115-kitzhaber-jekaplan14-thumbBY JACOB PALMER | OB DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

Recapping a wild week featuring plenty of will he or won't he resign drama.


Read more...

Imperial Palate

February 2015
Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Power Lunch at the Imperial.


Read more...

Cache and Curry

March 2015
Monday, February 23, 2015
BY JACOB PALMER | OB DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

Power Lunch at Swagat in Hillsboro.


Read more...

Carbon Power

February 2015
Tuesday, January 27, 2015
BY LINDA BAKER

Researchers in a multitude of disciplines are searching for ways to soak up excess carbon dioxide, the compound that contributes to global warming.


Read more...

The Carbon Calculus

February 2015
Friday, January 23, 2015
BY KIM MOORE | OB RESEARCH EDITOR

Carbon pricing is gaining momentum in Oregon, sparking concern for energy-intensive businesses — but also opportunity to expand a homespun green economy.


Read more...

Downtown flower shop readies for the Valentine's Day rush

The Latest
Monday, February 09, 2015
021015-giffords-thumbBY MEGHAN NOLT

VIDEO: Gifford's Flowers brings family approach to PSU-area shop.


Read more...

4 winners and losers in the Kitzhaber scandal

The Latest
Thursday, February 12, 2015
021315-govorno-thumbBY JACOB PALMER | OB DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

Examining the governor's rapid fall from grace in a "bizarre" and "unprecedented" saga.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS