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Press Release

Lacking transit access, lower-skilled workers miss out on NEO job opportunities: Cleveland Fed study

Lacking transit access, many lower-skilled workers in Northeast Ohio miss out on job opportunities, say Cleveland Fed researchers

Poor job accessibility can increase jobless rates and make it harder for families to move up the economic ladder. A new study from the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, titled “A Long Ride to Work: Job Access and Public Transportation in Northeast Ohio,” finds that the largest share of Northeast Ohio’s workforce—workers with only high school diplomas—experiences the lowest levels of job access. Moreover, access varies greatly by county. In most outlying counties, less than 10 percent of regional jobs can be accessed by public transit in 90 minutes or fewer, say the report’s authors, Brett Barkley and Alexandre Gomes-Pereira.

The study also looks at the other side of the coin—what percent of the labor force is accessible to employers—and finds that half of Northeast Ohio’s top 10 employment centers have access to only 15 percent or less of the regional workforce. Employment centers with the highest concentration of low-skill jobs tend to experience the lowest labor-force accessibility rates.

What can Northeast Ohio business and civic leaders do to increase job access? Barkley and Gomes-Pereira suggest:

  • targeted investment to improve transit and pedestrian facilities at key suburban employment centers
  • increased inter-county transit options
  • innovative and collaborative funding strategies to promote accessible communities across the region.

While job access is about equitable development, Barkley and Gomes-Pereira note that it is about economic competitiveness, too. “Consumer preferences are changing; Millennials and baby boomers alike want more accessible communities. Metros that provide these opportunities will likely have a leg up in the 21st century economy,” say the researchers.

Find out why regional leaders are concerned about this issue in Job Accessibility in Northeast Ohio

For the complete report, see A Long Ride to Work: Job Access and Public Transportation in Northeast Ohio.

Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland

The Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland is one of 12 regional Reserve Banks that along with the Board of Governors in Washington DC comprise the Federal Reserve System. Part of the US central bank, the Cleveland Fed participates in the formulation of our nation’s monetary policy, supervises banking organizations, provides payment and other services to financial institutions and to the US Treasury, and performs many activities that support Federal Reserve operations System-wide. In addition, the Bank supports the well-being of communities across the Fourth Federal Reserve District through a wide array of research, outreach, and educational activities.

The Cleveland Fed, with branches in Cincinnati and Pittsburgh, serves an area that comprises Ohio, western Pennsylvania, eastern Kentucky, and the northern panhandle of West Virginia.

Media contact

Doug Campbell,, 513.455.4479