Recession Stalls Job Sprawl

A report by the Brookings Institution finds that the Great Recession stalled the decentralization of jobs away from cities’ downtown areas.

Before the economic downturn, private-sector jobs were advancing toward the suburbs of the nation’s 100 largest metropolitan areas. But the job losses experienced during the recession slowed that move away from downtowns across the United States.

The institution’s report — “Job Sprawl Stalls: The Great Recession & Metropolitan Employment Location” — was released in April and updated a previous 2009 study. It examined the location of jobs within 35 miles of 100 metro areas’ downtowns. Among the findings:

  • “Job losses in industries hit hardest by the downturn, including construction and manufacturing, helped check employment decentralization in the late 2000s.”
  • “In all but nine of the 100 largest metro areas, the share of jobs located within three miles of downtown declined during the 2000s.” The greater Little Rock area was among those nine. The share of jobs within three miles of what the report called its Central Business District ticked up by 0.7 percent.

The report can be found at