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Press Release

Cleveland Fed Researcher Finds Job Access Has Continued to Decline in Metro Areas Since 2007

Job access is associated with increasing economic mobility and opportunity for workers. In this report, Cleveland Fed researcher Kyle Fee focuses on the interactions between employment growth and job access and finds that the location of employment growth within a metro area directly impacts job access.

“From 2007 to 2017, workers’ access to the share of metro employment within what is considered a “typical commuting distance” declined an average of 1.7 percent across 96 US metro areas, with 74 of those 96 metro areas experiencing declines,” says Fee. “Declines in metro-area job access are associated with patterns of employment growth that favor suburban locations in those metro areas.”

The report analyzes 96 US metro areas, providing estimates of the change in job access and urban, suburban, and rural employment growth over a 10-year period. Increasing job accessibility has been found to significantly decrease the duration of joblessness among lower-income displaced workers, especially for African Americans, women, and older workers, and policies that increase job accessibility could possibly influence the pace of the labor market recovery from the COVID-19-induced recession.

Read more: Decline in Access to Jobs and the Location of Employment Growth in US Metro Areas

Top 10 Metro Areas in Terms of Increase in Job Access 2007 2017 % Change
Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia, NC-SC 25.0% 27.1% 8.5%
Greenville-Anderson, SC 35.4% 37.7% 6.6%
New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA 21.2% 22.2% 4.9%
Greensboro-High Point, NC 48.5% 50.0% 3.3%
Sacramento-Roseville-Folsom, CA 37.0% 37.9% 2.6%
Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA 22.2% 22.7% 2.2%
Portland-South Portland, ME 24.6% 25.2% 2.2%
San Francisco-Oakland-Berkeley, CA 29.5% 30.2% 2.1%
Knoxville, TN 35.9% 36.6% 1.9%
New Orleans-Metairie, LA 34.0% 34.7% 1.9%

Bottom 10 Metro Areas in Terms of Decrease in Job Access 2007 2017 % Change
Tucson, AZ 48.2% 44.2% -8.3%
San Antonio-New Braunfels, TX 40.0% 37.0% -7.3%
Phoenix-Mesa-Chandler, AZ 31.1% 28.9% -7.2%
Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX 28.8% 26.8% -6.7%
Syracuse, NY 43.5% 40.7% -6.6%
Cape Coral-Fort Myers, FL 55.5% 52.0% -6.3%
Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise, NV 41.1% 38.6% -6.2%
Austin-Round Rock-Georgetown, TX 45.6% 42.8% -6.1%
Colorado Springs, CO 49.9% 46.9% -6.0%
El Paso, TX 44.4% 41.9% -5.7%


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