Despite an urban resurgence, cities saw their reverse commuting rates increase 7.5% on average during this market cycle

October 22, 2018
  • Talent has concentrated in American cities faster than suburban areas during this market cycle. While the highly educated population in the top 25 largest regions in the country grew by 6.8 million people since 2008, suburban areas added 23.6 percent to their talent base, while cities grew 28.7 percent. These changes have led to massive investments in office, multifamily, and retail in urban cores.
  • Jobs have begun to follow talent, but the stickiness of office locations as well as the long-term nature of leases mean that job growth in cities hasn’t quite kept pace with the momentum of talent concentrating in those cities. What has resulted are increasing reverse commute rates across almost all major metropolitan areas (defined as the number of people commuting from primary cities in a region to jobs in areas outside those city’s borders in JLL Philadelphia Research’s “Ambitious Thinking: Smart Cities”). Since 2008, reverse commuting has increased an average of 7.5 percent across the 25 largest U.S. metropolitan areas.
  • Philadelphia’s change in reverse commuting was significantly lower, just 2.5 percent. Only highly auto-oriented cities such as St. Louis, Baltimore, and Detroit saw their reverse commuting rates decline.
    Reverse commuting patterns suggest there is room to run in central business districts. As unemployment rates hover at 2.0 percent for educated talent, employers will need to continue to think about differentiation to compete.

Source: JLL Research, U.S. Census Bureau

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