Spatial and Skills Mismatch of Unemployment and Job Vacancies: Opportunities for Integrated Transit and Workforce Development

Principal Investigator:

Yingling Fan, Assistant Professor, Humphrey School of Public Affairs


  • Kirti Das, Research Fellow, Humphrey School of Public Affairs
  • Andrew Guthrie, Research Fellow, Humphrey School of Public Affairs

Project Summary:

Spatial mismatch (a lack of job opportunities the employed are able to commute to) and skills mismatch (a lack of qualifications for job opportunities they can commute to) are two prevalent explanations of unemployment. This research explores these two issues simultaneously, at a regional scale, and in the context of the ongoing development of the regional transit system. In addition, the research considers access to and qualifications for actual job vacancies a more direct measure of opportunity than currently filled positions. The project will examine spatial and skills mismatch patterns in the region by comparing distributions of transit-accessible, sector/occupation-specific job vacancies to residential patterns of unemployed socio-demographic groups. We will create GIS maps illustrating patterns of mismatch over time between 2001 and 2013. We will quantify the magnitudes of spatial and skills mismatch between 2001 and 2013 using indices of dissimilarity. The map-based and quantitative analyses will show whether spatial and skills mismatch in the Twin Cities shifted their patterns, or have increased or decreased in the past decade. We will also develop multiple future transit planning, job creation and workforce development policy scenarios. The map-based and quantitative analyses will be repeated for each scenario. Results will be compared across future scenarios to identify strategies to effectively mitigate spatial and skills mismatch in the Twin Cities. We will also identify neighborhoods with concentrated unemployment and/or low-income minority groups, examine whether residents in these neighborhoods are disproportionately affected by spatial and skills mismatch, as well as explore additional impediments to labor market success including the issue of underemployment (i.e., employed residents unable to find additional jobs that are much needed to support their families) and the issue of social mismatch (i.e., mainstream labor market disconnected with the socioeconomically disadvantaged due to their sparse social networks).


Project Details: