Working for a Living — in the ‘Burbs

Study shows 67 percent of Dallas-area jobs are far from downtown

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Think of it as job sprawl.

Dallas is one of the cities that has seen a remarkable shift of jobs from downtown to suburban areas, according to a recent study by the Brookings Institute.

From 1998 to 2006, 95 of 98 metro areas saw a decrease in jobs within three miles of downtown. Nearly half -- 45 percent -- of employees work more than 10 miles away from downtown areas, compared to 21 percent in downtown.

The difference is even more dramatic in North Texas.

The Dallas-Arlington-Fort Worth area has the third-highest concentration among the cities in the study. About 67 percent of the Metroplex's jobs are more than 10 miles away from downtown.

Elizabeth Kneebone, the author of the study, says job sprawl is seen in both areas that are growing, such as Phoenix and Austin, and metro areas that are losing jobs and people, such as Detroit and Cleveland.

It's food for thought for Dallas city leaders looking to revitalize downtown areas. Kneebone says the suburban job trend also holds true for jobs that attract young and talented workers.

The 31 metro areas that specialize in professional, scientific and technical services, such as Austin, still saw a shift away from downtown jobs.

Professionals may be moving downtown for an urban living experience, but jobs are increasingly outside the city core, meaning commute times and other negatives attributed to sprawl are still there -- just in the opposite direction.

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