Growth & Opportunity News: Where is Job Growth Happening?
Growth & Opportunity is about growing the economy in ways that create more opportunities for all people through strategies that simultaneously address job creation, job preparation and job access.
Spotlight on Akron, Ohio
Creating Measurable Community Impact, a new report from the Akron Community Foundation, outlines five key issues facing Summit County, Ohio, including employment and transportation. The report examines how these issues are connected and highlights opportunities to improve them through collaboration.
The report is full of sobering statistics like these: 15 percent of Akron households do not have a personal vehicle. And although 71 percent of jobs in Akron are located near public transit, just 21 percent of residents can reach a typical job in 90 minutes via public transit.
The Fund for Our Economic Future's framework for how to take a collaborative approach to building stronger, more equitable local and regional economies through job creation, job preparation and job access efforts.
Debate is brewing about what recent job growth data are telling us. Research indicates that decades-long job sprawl in parts of the country may be stalling, or even shifting back to urban centers. But is this a recessionary blip, or an enduring trend?
Jacob Anbinder, a policy associate at the Century Foundation in New York, warned in a recent story for The Week that it may be too soon to proclaim America's urban comeback. "Are we so enamored with the idea of the 'urban comeback' that we're actively ignoring evidence to the contrary?" he asked.
Anbinder singled out a new study from City Observatory, which found that the urban core outperformed its periphery in the period from 2007-2011 in 21 of 41 U.S. cities analyzed. That was up from 7 of 41 cities in the period from 2002 to 2007. Anbinder countered this with the observation that when looking at trends for the entire 2002 to 2011 period, 24 of the 41 cities in the study actually lost jobs in the central business district, and that only 11 of them saw greater core growth for that period.
Cities like Cleveland, for instance, have experienced job growth patterns atypical to the headlines. From 2007-11, the City Observatory report shows Cleveland experiencing job growth declines in both the city center (-2.4 percent) and periphery (-1.4 percent). Likewise, a 2013 Brookings studyby Elizabeth Kneebone, entitled "Job Sprawl Stalls: The Great Recession and Metropolitan Employment Location," found that from 2000 to 2010, the share of jobs 10 to 35 miles from Cleveland's central business district increased 3.5 percent, while the share of jobs within three miles of the central business district declined 2.1 percent.
In response to Anbinder's piece, Joe Cortright, author of the City Observatory report, writes that the key message "isn't a new era of urban triumphalism, so much as it is the end of a long period of unabated decentralization."
While the two still don't agree on the size and significance of the shift, both Anbinder and Cortright contend there is benefit to deeper, city-by-city analysis. Indeed, as they point out, factors that play a role in job growth patterns -- core industries, land use, transportation patterns, population trends, local and state policies -- aren't going to be universal.
So what conclusions can we draw? Job growth patterns in some parts of the country are undeniably changing. Our understanding of how widespread and lasting these trends are will only improve as more recent data becomes available. "Four years of data drawn from a particularly turbulent time in our economic history is hardly the final word," Cortright acknowledges.
There is good reason to seek better understanding of what job growth patterns are telling us. This is not only so we can avoid the kinds of job development patterns of the past, which have had far-reaching implications on job accessibility, social mobility and economic opportunity, but so that we might better counter current barriers to employment.
The Fund for Our Economic Future anticipates a deeper investigation into these job growth trends in Northeast Ohio in the months ahead, and looks forward to engaging with civic leaders on what the data tells us.
From the Blogosphere
Getting Down to Basics: Literacy Skills and Our Workforce
"We cannot have a conversation about workforce -- how to improve it, how to better connect it to available jobs -- without first talking about literacy," writes Karakul.
Kurt Karakul, president and executive director of Third Federal Foundation, writes on the Fund for Our Economic Future blog about the need for a
two-generational approach to increase educational attainment over the long term, while also increasing low-literate adults' access to jobs in the near term.
On Brookings' The Avenue, Robert Jaquay of the George Gund Foundation talks about the role core cities play in regional economies and the importance of executing Growth & Opportunity strategies at the local level in ways that can serve as a model for other parts of a region.
On Wednesday, March 25, the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia's Community Development Studies and Education Dept. and the New America Foundation will host a one-hour webinar on innovative approaches to engage high school students in career exploration and post-secondary training or employment. Register today!
The Community Affairs Officers of the Federal Reserve System will host their 9th Biennial Research Conference on economic mobility April 2-3, at the Washington Marriott Wardman Park in Washington, D.C. This event aims to bridge the gap between research, policy and practice, and is designed to foster understanding about economic mobility.
The Cleveland Engineering Society's 2015 Leadership Breakfast Series will feature three events on Growth & Opportunity issues in Northeast Ohio. The first in the series will be held April 21 from 7:30 to 9 a.m., at the Crowne Plaza Cleveland South in Independence, Ohio. Speakers from the Fund for Our Economic Future, Cuyahoga County and PolicyBridge will discuss how we can better connect people and communities to economic opportunity.
ABFE: A Philanthropic Partnership for Black Communities will host its annual conference on the topic of empowering philanthropy April 23-25, at the Embassy Suites Napa Valley in Napa, California. The conference will feature cutting-edge philanthropic strategies to support black communities.
The Greater Ohio Policy Center (GOPC) will host its 2015 Summit, "Restoring Neighborhoods, Strengthening Economies,"
June 9-10, at the Westin Columbus in Columbus, Ohio. The Summit, designed for civic, business and nonprofit leaders from across the state and the country, will address a wide-range of topics essential to sustainable economic growth.
The Federal Reserve Banks of Cleveland, Philadelphia and Richmond will host the 2015 Policy Summit on Housing, Human Capital and Inequality
June 18-19, at the Omni William Penn Hotel in Pittsburgh. The focus of this year's event is inclusive economic growth. Check out the recently posted agenda.