New WIN Regional Commuting Patterns Report: As Job Growth Increases in Southeast Michigan Workforce, So Does Average Commute

In 2014, nearly one quarter (23.7%) of southeast Michigan’s workforce traveled more than 50 miles, roundtrip, to and from their place of employment. This compares to 22.5% in 2011 (the last time this data was measured and reported), and the national average of 16%. This data and more, compiled in the Workforce Intelligence Network for Southeast Michigan’s (WIN) new Labor Shed Report, highlights commuting trends for workers in the 16-county WIN region, including Genesee, Hillsdale, Huron, Jackson, Lapeer, Lenawee, Livingston, Macomb, Monroe, Oakland, Saint Clair, Sanilac, Shiawassee, Tuscola, Washtenaw, and Wayne counties, along with the City of Detroit.

The increase in commuting distances throughout southeast Michigan indicates the willingness of individuals to travel further, if necessary, to and from wherever the best employment opportunities are located.

One of the most publicized areas of growth and opportunity in southeast Michigan has been the City of Detroit but in fact most of the job growth in the region has instead been in Oakland County. Several of the larger counties surrounding the city have become prime destinations for commuters. In other counties, nearly half or more of workers travel 50 miles or more each day.

“The reality of increased driving distances means it is becoming increasingly more challenging for people to get back-and-forth from work,” said Lisa Katz, executive director, WIN. “This underscores the critical need for logical thinking around regional public transportation, which is going to be more important than ever as these commuting patterns trend toward longer distances and more time spent on the road.”

Contributing to longer commuting distances is decreased concentration of jobs within a typical commute distance. A 2015 report from the Brookings Institution showed that the number of jobs within a typical commute distance for residents in major metro areas of the U.S. fell by 7% between 2000 and 2012. The typical commute in metro Detroit is 10.4 miles. Despite job growth in southeast Michigan overall, the average number of jobs near the typical metro Detroit resident fell from 408,549 in 2000 to 304,038 in 2012. Jobs in the region are growing, but they are farther away for many residents, especially those closer to Detroit.

The full report can be viewed at: www.win-semich.org/data-research/labor-shed-reports.

ABOUT WORKFORCE INTELLIGENCE NETWORK OF SOUTHEAST MICHIGAN

The Workforce Intelligence Network for Southeast Michigan (WIN) is a collaborative effort between six Michigan Works! Agencies (MWAs), ten community colleges, and numerous other organizations. The WIN partnership aims to create a comprehensive and cohesive workforce development system in Southeast Michigan that provides employers with the talent they need for success.

WIN PARTNERS:

Colleges
Henry Ford College
Jackson College
Macomb Community College
Monroe County Community College
Mott Community College
Oakland Community College
Schoolcraft College
St. Clair County Community College
Washtenaw Community College
Wayne County Community College District

Michigan Works! Agencies:

Detroit Employment Solutions Corp.
GST Michigan Works!
Macomb/St. Clair Michigan Works!
Oakland County Michigan Works!
Southeast Michigan Community Alliance
Southeast Michigan Works! Consortium