Volume 2, Issue 1 (2007) Metropolitan-Micropolitan Difference in Available Labor Force Characteristics

Mike Walker, Brett Zollinger

This study explores differences in labor availability characteristics among those living in metropolitan and micropolitan areas. Data used in this study are from surveys of adults in two adjacent Midwestern states and from three separate labor basins. Primary patterns under examination include wage demands, benefit demands, distance willing to commute for a job, perceived underemployment and entrepreneurial propensity. Bivariate analyses show no relationship between basin size and entrepreneurial propensity nor between basin size and willingness to commute. However, basin size has significant influence on four of the seven dependent variables, even after controlling for many sociodemographic characteristics. In multivariate analyses, health benefits, retirement benefits, education assistance and underemployed for skills continue to be significantly associated with size of basin, while desired wage, on the job (OJT) or paid training and underemployed for education are not significantly associated. Micropolitan area available labor pool (ALP) members place more importance on health benefits, retirement benefits and education assistance in considering new employment than do metropolitan ALP members. Among employed ALP, metropolitan respondents have a stronger perception of being underemployed given their skill level. These data are from only three labor basin areas. Variation is highly restricted due to the small number of places for comparative analysis. Future research will incorporate additional labor basins.

(Posted Online on May 1, 2007)