A new report by a prominent Washington think tank shows Hartford’s downtown lost more than 25,000 jobs between 2000 and 2010. But jobs in close-in suburbs and suburbs 10 miles or more from downtown also slipped during the decade, just not as fast.
The authors of the Brookings Institution report have an anti-sprawl agenda, and they are worried that when job growth returns, it will be in office parks and industrial parks that aren’t transit friendly.
“Because the location of employment relates to so many aspects of a metro areas growth and performance, land use, zoning, and economic development strategies should be balanced with housing and transportation planning to ensure that regions are not just growing more jobs or better jobs, but they are locating jobs in ways that promote accessibility and connection,” wrote author Elizabeth Kneebone.
But what we found most interesting was comparing metro Hartford and other urban areas with similar populations, the three right above it and the three right below.
The report looked at the number of jobs within a 35-mile radius of downtown. Of seven metro areas, with populations that range from 1.25 million to 1.13 million, greater Hartford had the largest number of jobs, with 515,407 jobs in 2010.
Greater Louisville, Ky., which has about 37,000 more residents than greater Hartford, had about 7,800 fewer jobs within 35 miles of its downtown than Hartford did. Metro Hartford includes Tolland, Middlesex and Hartford counties.
That was just about the only good news in the comparison. Of the seven cities and their suburbs, only Raleigh, N.C., added jobs during the decade: it added 39,395 positions.
But only New Orleans lost a greater proportion of jobs than metro Hartford — it lost 16.6 percent of its jobs and Hartford lost 7.5 percent.
Obviously, Hurricane Katrina was the largest reason for the hemorrhaging of jobs.
Birmingham, Ala. and Louisville, Ky., had similar levels of losses to Hartford — 7.3 percent and 7 percent, respectively.