Investigación

Ambitious thinking: Smart cities

Job growth is happening in both the CBDs and the suburbs. But educated adults are increasingly city dwellers, seeking walkability, authenticity, and collaboration. As economic recovery and expansion continue across most sectors and regions, competition for talent is intensifying, increasing pressure on employers to differentiate based on location, amenities, and environment. Now more than ever, it's critical that real estate investors, developers, and decision-makers understand which cities and suburbs are experiencing job growth and attracting highly-educated talent.

We took a deep look into population, educational attainment, and job location and employment data across the 25 largest metropolitan areas in the United States. Here’s what we found:

Talent

  • Every single major metropolitan area contains more educated talent today than in 2008
    The educated talent pool has grown by 6.8 million people since 2008 across major metros, raising the average share of educated talent from 33.4 percent to 37.4 percent in that time. 

  • Educated talent is clustering faster in major cities faster than it is in suburbs
    Major city educated population is up 28.7 percent since 2008, whereas the suburbs surrounding those cities have increased their highly educated populations by 23.6 percent. Momentum is clearly in the cities. 

  • Most of the adult population gain in major cities is educated talent
    Educated persons account for 90.9 percent of the adult population increase in major cities, while accounting for only 65.1 percent of the adult population increase in their suburbs. 

  • Suburbs still hold the majority share of educated talent
    Despite the fairly recent urban momentum over the past decade, major cities do not compete with their surrounding suburbs in regard to talent volume.

Jobs and commuting

  • Major cities aren’t seeing the same momentum in jobs as they are in talent
    Major city job share within their MSAs is up only 10 basis points over five years, despite a 510-basis-point increase in educated talent since the Recession. 

  • Major cities are experiencing a slight drop in their share of regional jobs
    Since 2011, there’s been an average drop of 0.3 percent across the majority of major cities and only New York City saw its share of regional jobs increase more than 1 percent. 

  • Reverse commuting unsurprisingly remains a widespread fact of life across all major regions and has increased in every metropolitan area 
    Reverse commuting is up 11.6 percent over 2011 levels with more than 4.8 million people reverse commuting out of major cities in the 25 largest MSAs.

Now more than ever, it's critical that real estate investors, developers, and decision-makers understand which cities and suburbs are experiencing job growth and attracting highly-educated talent.

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