Smaller Cities Struggle With Private Sector Job Growth

Only six cities accounted for three-fourths of all major-city downtown employment growth from 2010 to 2013

August 1, 2017
Buildings in downtown Indianapolis

While big cities including Chicago and Boston have downtowns that are thriving economically, many mid-size and smaller cities are losing private sector jobs.

CityLab reports that cities including Indianapolis, Cincinnati, San Antonio, and Minneapolis have been losing jobs to the suburbs. Popular employers such as banks, utilities, and department stores have been downsizing or closing entirely. Public sector and pseudo-public sector jobs ( education and healthcare) are filling the gaps, but not well enough.

From 2010 to 2013, only six cities (New York, Chicago, Boston, San Francisco, Seattle, and Houston) accounted for 75 percent of all major-city downtown employment growth.

Civic centers, government hubs, tourism and entertainment districts, and educational and medical clusters are all great things; they’re an important part of what makes downtowns tick. But commerce—true private sector commerce—is the beating heart of a downtown.

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