Two years ago, University of Virginia researcher Dustin Cable put together a detailed dot map based on the racial distribution of people in the United States. This work inspired another researcher to put together something similar, but for America’s job distribution.
Robert Manduca studies sociology and social policy at Harvard University. He says that while jobs and the economy are continuously discussed, we seem to know very little about where jobs are actually located. So what he did was examine the Census Bureau’s Longitudinal Employer-Household Dynamics data and then plot that information out on an interactive map.
The LEHD data is based on state unemployment insurance records, and tabulates the count of jobs by census block,” Manduca explained on his website. “Here, jobs are colored by type, allowing us to see how different industries and sectors exhibit different spatial patterns–some clustering in downtowns, others spreading across city and suburbs alike.”
The way the visualization works is that red represents Manufacturing & Trade; blue for Professional Services; green for Healthcare, Education and Government; and yellow for Retail, Hospitality and Other Services.
Upon examination of the map, you can see that some cities and regions have a much stronger concentration of jobs than others. When looking at Ohio from a distance, it looks like this pattern holds true for the state’s three big cities. That picture changes as a more detailed look is taken at Manduca’s research.
In Cincinnati, for example, the two largest job centers, downtown and uptown, are joined by the Mill Creek Valley and Blue Ash as areas with heavy concentrations of jobs. As expected, there is a large cluster of education and health jobs uptown, while downtown boasts the region’s heaviest concentration of professional service jobs.
Blue Ash then comes in as, perhaps, the most impressive job center for professional service jobs in the region outside of the center city.
The Mill Creek Valley, which generally runs north along I-75 from the Ohio River, serves as the region’s primary manufacturing and trade corridor. This industrial corridor is well-rooted in Cincinnati’s history, and is even reflected in the City of Cincinnati’s robust tax collections from these zip codes.
The research reveals how much of a barrier the natural landscape serves as when considering job distribution. Throughout the Cincinnati region, for example, you can see how the hills cut across the landscape.
The data also shows that while Cincinnati is often defined by an east/west divide, the distribution of jobs is far more north/south oriented than it is east/west. Of course, the same is true for the region’s population.