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Jobs: spatial and racial mismatch

Chicago area job growth is concentrated in municipalities with the lowest African American populations and the least affordable housing, according to a new Chicago Reporter analysis.  The black unemployment rate in the Chicago area is five times the rate for whites.

“Distance from job opportunities hinders the employment prospects of African Americans by imposing commuting costs, and by hampering knowledge of employment opportunities,” according to researchers cited by the Reporter.

It’s worth recalling last year’s report from Good Jobs First-Illinois showing how state economic development subsidies favor affluent outlying suburbs which have low unemployment, contributing to sprawl and penalizing transit-dependent workers.

These analyses underline the importance of “smart growth” being promoted by local nonprofits.  The Center for Neighborhood Technology advocates for transit-oriented development, including affordable housing near transit, and Metropolitan Planning Council  works to facilitate employer-assisted housing near job sites.

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Category: development, economy, housing, race, sprawl, state budget

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