Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Workenomics: Commuters Would Reverse Commutes

The combination boggles the mind.  We're facing a time when the Class of '65 turns 65 and the economy is recovering.  Job opportunities are going to open up. 

At the same time, gas prices are hitting $4 per gallon.  It begs the question, "What will commuters do?"

We in Licking County, where perhaps as many as 44,000 people commute outside of our county for work every day, couldn't say we knew the answer.  So we asked.

A survey of 582 commuters was conducted by our local workforce-economic development cooperative, Workenomics, in March.  The scientific survey had a margin of error +/- 4.02%.

Workenomics' survey found that commuters would reverse their commute.  In fact, even though more than 74% of commuters have commuted for over 10 years, 94% of commuters would consider looking for work closer to home.

With gas prices as the trigger, the survey found 56% of commuters would start looking closer to home if gas prices hit $5 a gallon.

This information impacts site selection decisions.  Labor shed maps are done by people who look at commuting patterns and try to determine where the labor pool will come from. Labor shed maps may need to be re-written at a time when gas prices are up and the job market is workforce-driven.

The pool of workers is noteworthy too.  The survey also found 9% of the commuters work in manufacturing and 4% identify themselves as engineers.  Transposed across 44,000 commuters, it shows a significant talent pool for Licking County job creators to go dipping when the time is right.

The right time might be soon upon us.

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