Assessing Key Employment Trends Driving Commercial Real Estate Development

By: Dr. Donald Jud, University of North Carolina at Greensboro

Release Date: September 2009

As the economy adapts and changes in response to the pressures of globalization, climate change, new government initiatives, and other factors, the spatial pattern of workspace demand is constantly shifting. Developers are challenged to supply the proper kind of workspace where it is needed most in a changing economic environment. Knowledge of current employment trends helps developers and investors make more informed decisions about the provision of space to better meet future needs as they arise.

The research explored the trends in industrial, office, and total employment from 2000 through the 2009. Using data on county and metropolitan employment from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the research indicated:

  • Which metropolitan areas have recorded the most rapid/slowest growth in industrial, office, and total employment.
  • How the growth of industrial, office, and total employment in central-city counties compares to employment growth in counties on the metropolitan fringe.
  • How the pattern of non-metropolitan growth compares to that of metropolitan areas.
  • How the growth pattern of the last decade has changed with the onset of the recession which began in December 2007.
  • Which factors best explain the employment growth patterns of the past decade and which best account for any recent changes.
  • What is the relationship between industrial and office employment growth and the demand for industrial and office space and how this relationship varies across areas and regions of the country.

Read the Executive Summary