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Report: Columbus Jobs Shift To City's Outer Ring.

A recent Brookings Institution Report says Central Ohio's job centers have moved in the past decade. The report documents the loss of jobs in the downtown area and the growth of job centers more than ten miles from Broad and High. For some, the shift has created new commute patterns. WOSU's Tom Borgerding reports.

"I wish there was more work opportunities down in the city."

Brock Bauer moved to a downtown Columbus condo three years ago. But, he works at an office complex on U-S Route 23 north of Worthington. On his 15 mile morning commute north on I-71 and west on I-270 he passes thousands of commuters going the other way, toward downtown. But, a recent Brookings Institution study of job shifts in Columbus and 97 other U-S cities indicates Bauer's commute away from downtown has become more common. Researcher Elizabeth Kneebone says the movement of Central Ohio jobs beyond the outerbelt accelerated during the last decade.

" Well, in 1998, Columbus had less than 30 percent of its employment beyond ten miles away from downtown. What happened in the region, was the urban core, the area within three miles of the central business district or the downtown actually shed jobs over time. There was a net decrease in the number of jobs located in that area of about 12 percent."

Kneebone says at the same time the suburbs beyond ten miles of downtown rapidly gained jobs.

"There was considerable job gains, about a 28 percent increase." Says Kneebone.

And. with jobs comes more retail and residential development along the outer ring of Columbus. Brock Bauer says most of his co-workers commute from Polaris, Worthington, or Hilliard. And while he enjoys living downtown he often shops at stores near his northside office.

"But, the way I look at it is there are a lot of awesome opportunities out side of work up here as far as running errands and a lot of stores that aren't available down in the central part of the city so I try to take advantage of running errands up here, hitting certain stores." Says Bauer.

The Brookings Institution study showing that fully one-third of Central Ohio jobs are now in suburbs and outlying areas calculated numbers from 1998 to 2006. In the past year, the regional economy has slowed. But, researcher Kneebone says its doubtful the shift in jobs away from downtown will be reversed.

"These trends don't move in lockstep with the economy. So while the current downturn might slow some of these trends in certain regions. By itself, its probably unlikely to reverse these trends." Says Kneebone.

Tom Borgerding WOSU News