Metro Hartford’s Job Sprawl Continues

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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.


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18 thoughts on “Metro Hartford’s Job Sprawl Continues

  1. sue

    How can this be. CT is such a great place to be. You see taxpayers of CT our illustrious ‘RATS and RINOS can’t fool the businessmen. They sling the bull and most of CT buys it since they electing the same losers time and time again and even when we elect republicans they are nothing more than a ‘RAT in disguise. CT is dying and what do the ‘RATS and RINOs do – vote to borrow $2 billion more to spend at UCONN thinking that will keep graduates in CT. Hey ‘RATS and RINOS guess what it won’t with no jobs no one will stay except those on the welfare gravy train. CT population 3.5 million. 700,000 on welfare

  2. L

    Nobody wants to live or work in CT because of high taxes, overpriced housing, overpriced goods, highest gas tax. Why not move to Florida where the weathers better, you can actually afford a real apartment and not work 3 jobs just to keep an overpriced substandard apartment here. Even our plain, boring, license plates show how our state is, boring and low end for a premo price.

    1. Trevor

      Dannel Malloy took office in 2011. This data is from 2000-2010. John Rowland and Jodi Rell were the Governors during that period.

  3. HarryH

    Why would anyone or any business want to be in downtown Hartford. The traffic is horrible, parking expensive and there is very little there for anyone to do – can’t shop during lunch, etc. Why would a busines want to be downtown. Hartford has very high taxes, land is expensive, they have to provide (even if they charge for it) very expensive land for parking. If government wasn’t there or going there (UCONN along with the State) there’d be nothing there and no one going there. You have to > 50% subsidize in order for anyone to consider.
    Cities like Hartford are dead – it is too late to save them, they had their chance but letting sports teams (Whalers) and stores (G FOX for example) leave without even a blink doomed what people ever cared about.
    Gone and the state should stop thowing bad money after bad money. This dream of high density and no one commuting will never happen.

    1. Density or Defeat

      Over the long term, sprawl is self-defeating for the entire metro economy. Talented and educated young workers show a distinct preference for walkable urban environments. If they don’t find what they’re looking for here, they’ll go to the metro areas that host vibrant cities. That is true not only of large metropolises, but also of smaller metro areas where cities are given due support and attention. A good example is Portland, Oregon. One hears of recent college graduates migrating to Portland and cities like it for the vibrant urban environments they offer.

      By and large, young talent will never be interested in living or working in boring suburbs like Farmington or Tolland. Managers who locate in those towns and enjoy their free parking but then wonder why they can’t attract or retain highly educated employees should not exactly be surprised.

      1. Incredulous

        There are stages in life and people make choices based on preferences relating to those stages. Its just way too simplistic to believe that every young person wants to live in a 24/7 urban environment. Many do, and might even live there for their entire lives. But many will live there only until they get married and begin a family. At that point most folks want a little yard, a garden, good schools, public services, responsive responsible local government and a safe quiet place for the kids to grow up. Even if a city could produce all these things (a tough task, indeed, although a rare few come close), many would STILL opt for the “burbs’ (perhaps even rural fringe areas). This is why the much maligned American suburb has survived and remains the hands down preference for most folks. Despite the claims of sprawl-obsessed snake oil salesmen, there are other factors causing the exodus of young talent to other regions (crappy weather, taxes, high cost of living, home prices, liberal intolerance and dogma (like the sprawl meme), quasi-socialistic goverance, constipated, burdensome, redudent regulatory systems, lack of jobs, etc.). And, think about this (if you dare be honest with yourself). How many of the sprawl obsessed actually live in big expensive houses out in the ‘burbs or even rural parts of Connecticut? Lots. Thousands, in fact. Authors, academics, lawyers, actors, liberal politicians, “environmentalists,” new paper reporters, etc all living very comfortably in places and in ways they say no one else can live, or should live, and all the while fiercely advocating public policies, regulations, and expenditures of tax money to preserve their own little exclusive worlds. Where do a lot of Yale professors live? Downtown New Haven? Nope- try Madison or Durham or Killingworth, maybe even Lyme or Essex. How about 4/5ths of the members of CFE? Sierra Club? CFPA? The next time you’re at a “conference” about “sprawl” do your self a favor. Ask as many of the speakers, attendees, hosts etc where they live. If they name a suburban Town or a rural Town, call them a hypocrite to their face and ask them how they sleep at night.

        God gave you a brain for a reason. Use it. Peer beneath the rhetoric and the dogma and the HYPOCRISY and see the truth. The truth will set you free!

        1. Density or Defeat

          I for one live and work in downtown Hartford, and I wouldn’t live or work anywhere else.

          1. Density or Defeat

            The private market is also responding to the reality that high-density locations attract high-knowledge workers. Companies including Boeing, UBS and Quicken Loans have moved from suburban locations to downtowns in the past five years. Research suggests that high density locations also improve business outcomes on a range of measures including labor productivity (e.g., Ciccone & Hall, 1996) and patenting activity (e.g., Strumsky, Lobo, & Fleming, 2005).

    2. L

      Sums it up good. Working in Hartford means sitting in endless traffic with careless drivers that are in too much of a hurry for their own good, drivers who are in too much of a hurry to or dont care to stop at a red light, beggers banging on car windows looking for a buck, driving on unplowed streets after a storm, having to slam on your brakes constantly as people just cross the street when and wherever they feel like it regardless of traffic, people riding bikes in the road, listen to blaring rap music from cars, constant sirens, and constant beeping car horns. Does that sound like a desirable place to live or work?

  4. sue

    Remember Harry Lowell P Weicker let the whalers go and then after he decided not to run HE go appointed to the board of directors of the Whalers for his payoff and then Johnny Boy cut a sweet deal on the no interest loan that the state gave whalers as a payoff for leaving the state. I wonder if the state ever collected on this loan. Yes CT is sooo CORRUPT “RATS and RINOS all the same – all corrupt all vote lock step in barrel all looking for a cushy state job when they leave or are kicked out of office so they can bloat their cushy state pensions.

  5. Jack

    Why is this headlined “Job Sprawl”? Just because it came from the Brookings Institute report? The 25,000 (wow!) jobs didn’t go to the suburbs. Other than the activity surrounding increasing residential housing, there seems to be nothing substantial being done to rebuild the core downtown business district. Yo; economic development people, business leader groups, and other stakeholders – better get crackin before there are no lights to turn off.

  6. Former Hartford Resident

    Wait till the big Insurance Companies decide to leave how will the welfare programs survive. Oh maybe the queens will get off there big butts and get a job. Thank God I moved. Good Luck Hartford.

  7. This state is hopeless

    Only in CT would there be a whole thread of people slamming the city and defending boring, depressing suburbs. Little yards and rural fringe areas? This is better than a Boston or NYC? Are you people f*cking kidding me??? Not to mention not wanting the Whalers and preferring UConn instead….idiotic.

    And let’s not ignore the true elephant in the room here, which is thinly veiled in all of your posts:


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