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Phoenix job growth is on the rise, but distance remains a factor

According to research conducted by the Brookings Institution, job opportunities in Greater Phoenix have grown at a healthy rate since 2000, however the proximity to these jobs for the Valley area job seekers is also growing.

Statistics provided by Brookings indicate that from 2000 to 2009-13, the suburban population of Greater Phoenix experienced an explosion of sorts, growing 62 percent over the 13-year period. The growth of jobs also followed suit, with opportunities in the region growing by 36 percent during a period when job growth on average was only up two percent across large metro areas.

However, despite the overwhelming growth in population and jobs, few opportunities expanded beyond the urban core of Phoenix, Scottsdale and Mesa. In fact, in 2012, those three cities accounted for nearly two-thirds of the job opportunities in the Phoenix metro area. The average suburban community during that time had 254,000 jobs within an 11-mile radius (the typical commute in the Phoenix area), which amounted to less than half of the 530,000 jobs within close proximity to the average urban community.

In all, it meant that in 2012, the average household in the Valley lived near 16 percent fewer jobs than in 2000 — ranking 90th out of 96 metro areas Brookings studied on change in nearby jobs for its average household.