'Job Sprawl' Sucking Work From Downtowns to Suburbs

By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 6, 2009 1:17 PM CDT
A price-reduced placard hangs in front of a suburban home.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – More and more US companies are setting up shop in suburban areas far from urban centers in a trend known as “job sprawl,” USA Today reports. Though urban jobs increased overall from 1998-2006, a Brookings Institution report shows the share of employment opportunities within 3 miles of downtown has dropped in the majority of cities surveyed. The trend appears unconnected to economic conditions.

Sprawl continued even after the Internet bubble burst in the late 1990s; lower real-estate costs and a cheaper labor force simply make the suburbs more attractive to businesses, though the effect on metro areas could be detrimental. “The more disconnected jobs are from people, the more challenges you face,” the study's author said, such as increased traffic volume from reverse commuters and a dearth of suburban housing.