Report: Detroit Lacks Private Sector Jobs, Low Labor Force Involvement

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More than 60 percent of Detroit workers commute from outside the city for work, and within the city of Detroit, there are only enough jobs to employ about 37 percent of the population, according to a report released today by JPMorgan Chase and Co. 

"The … work done by JPMorgan Chase and the Corporation for a Skilled Workforce for this report gives us an invaluable tool in supporting our new Workforce Development Board as it tackles the challenges ahead," says Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan.

Duggan says the newly-reconstituted Workforce Development Board will use the report to better connect Detroiters with existing job openings in the region, address the mismatches between the needs of employers and the skills of job seekers, and identify opportunities to create new jobs.

"We continue to see signs of progress in Detroit's economic recovery, such as improving unemployment statistics, but there are additional steps that can accelerate job growth," says Chauncy Lennon, head of workforce initiatives at JPMorgan Chase. "This report maps out specific barriers to job growth and provides the information city leaders need to devise smart workforce solutions."

Lennon says about 62 percent of Detroiters between the ages of 16 and 64 are in the labor force, compared to 72 percent statewide. A quarter of the overall labor force is unemployed. He says while Detroit lacks a sufficient number of private sector jobs, many residents don't have the necessary skills and education levels to qualify for the jobs that are available. He says more than 70 percent of Detroiters with bachelor's degrees are employed, but only 13 percent of Detroit residents have bachelor's degrees.

Lennon says the report also found more than 60 percent of unemployed Detroiters ages 20 to 64 had incomes under the poverty line, and African-American residents were more than twice as likely to be unemployed than white residents.

The report, called Detroit's Untapped Talent: Jobs and On-Ramps Needed, is available here. The second part of the report on Detroit's workforce system infrastructure and capacity will be released soon. 

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