Using longitudinal employer dynamics (LED) data for the analysis of Memphis Aerotropolis, Tennessee


We used Longitudinal Employer Dynamics (LED) data for the analysis of the local workforce and job markets in Shelby County, Tennessee, which includes the city of Memphis. Memphis has earned the unique reputation in the US as America's Aerotropolis. However, the model has not yet received full attention by the urban geography community. This study analyzes the Memphis Aerotropolis (MA) defined as an economic hub extending outward from the Memphis International Airport into a surrounding area that specializes in transportation and warehousing. Our findings reveal polycentric pattern of employment which we grouped into centers, subcenters, and clusters. To understand industrial specialization of job areas, we used location quotient analysis. The area around the airport is consistent with the "Aerotropolis" concept, and attracts both jobs (it is the largest job concentration in the region) and housing. The area also has a greater share of higher-paying jobs, however female and minority workers benefit less than white male workers. This study contributes to the body of research on the spatial aspects of racial, gender, and paying/earning characteristics of both jobs and workers of a current-day metropolis. Availability of the LED data enables easy replication of the analysis of the local job and labor structure elsewhere within the United States. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.

Publication Title

Applied Geography