The vitality of a region's economy depends in part on its ability to connect people to good jobs and firms to workers with the appropriate skillset. Spatially, on both those counts, Northeast Ohio is falling short relative to other parts of the U.S. and relative to its potential to be globally competitive. This is one of the key findings of the September 2015 report The Geography of Jobs, which showed the human cost of sprawl and poor spatial job access: long commute times and a decline in the availability of jobs nearby. These costs affect all people in Northeast Ohio, but most acutely those living in areas of economic distress.
We closed the report with an observation of how to best continue the conversation around job access. We then worked closely with Cleveland-based nonpartisan think tank PolicyBridge to engage the community around our research and to gather input on how we can and should address the growing disconnect between where people live and work.
As jobs in Northeast Ohio climb back to pre-recession levels, understanding job growth patterns is critical to avoiding the pitfalls of promoting isolated pockets of limited growth, particularly if the region’s limited population remains flat.
For more information on what the data tells us about job access in Northeast Ohio, download The Geography of Jobs here. PolicyBridge's follow-on report, Roads Less Traveled, can be found here.