Economy White Paper Series
Exploring Today’s Most Important Economic Questions
The Center publishes White Papers on a wide variety of economic issues. Diverse in topic, these reports are intended to shed light on important economy-related debates and emerging trends. The Economy White Paper Series is produced entirely by the Center’s nationally renowned economists and researchers.
Uniquely Affected By The Pandemic, Downtown Economies Are Still The Biggest Job Centers
The demise of dense downtown areas in the United States has been predicted throughout, and long before, the COVID-19 pandemic. But according to our new analysis, downtowns are far from dying and today continue to be the largest job centers in most regions across the nation.
While the report identifies new and unique challenges facing downtowns due to pandemic-driven shifts in behavior and preferences, these changes are not likely to outweigh the things that have traditionally drawn businesses and workers to centralized urban areas.
“A century ago Henry Ford predicted that cities were ‘doomed’ due to the mass production of cars, and those same predictions have come with every communication innovation since, from telephone to fax to email to Zoom,” said Taner Osman, Research Manager at the Center for Forecasting and the report’s author. “The prized benefits that central cities generally deliver – better access to workers, business services, infrastructure, and networking and innovation opportunities – have made downtowns much more resilient than people believed over the decades and firms still want a presence in these areas despite higher costs.”