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The Employment Challenge. North Carolina Chapter – Association of Metropolitan Planning Organizations. May 3, 2012. Let’s s tart at the very beginning… Triangle Regional Modal (TRM). TRM is key transportation analysis tool, for example: MPOs: V/C and LRTP alternatives

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The employment challenge

The Employment Challenge

North Carolina Chapter – Association of Metropolitan Planning Organizations

May 3, 2012

Let s s tart at the very beginning triangle regional modal trm
Let’s start at the very beginning…Triangle Regional Modal (TRM)

  • TRM is key transportation analysis tool, for example:

    • MPOs: V/C and LRTP alternatives

    • NCDOT: feasibility and environmental studies

    • Triangle Transit: passenger rail ridership

    • Turnpike Commission: bonding

    • Air Quality Conformity

So… TRM is very important!

Triangle Regional Modal (TRM)Role of SE Data



Performance Measures

Transportation Network


(Travel Behavior)



Transit Ridership



Ten counties.

Se data population
SE Data -- Population

  • Census (if new decade, i.e., 2010)

    • Census blocks are nested inside of TRM Traffic Analysis Zones (TAZs)

    • Population, households, household size easy to get

    • Average income is a challenge

  • Inspections data (if intervening years, i.e., 2005)

    • Base growth from last Census on certificates of occupancy (COs) for new dwelling units

Thank God for Census

and Inspections!

SE Data -- Employment

  • Needed:

    • Control data (totals by county, or city, or town)

      • Distribute to TAZ level (top down), or

      • Check employment distribution (bottom up)

    • Employment location

Employment – Control Totals

Which estimate to use?

Many variables:




Self employed

Residence v Place of work

Snapshot v Total for year


Employment – Control Totals

Employment Security Commission (ESC)

  • The Good

  • Quarterly report by all employers subject to employment insurance

  • Snapshot (it is not total of different employees in that quarter)

  • Full- and part-time workers

  • Place of work

  • The Bad

  • HQ or regional office payroll might show employees outside of area

  • Under reports by about 8%

So make a little adjustment….

Total ESC Employment x (100/92) = Adjusted ESC

Employment – Control Totals

Adjusted Employment Security Commission (ESC)

How well does it work?

Employment – Location (TAZ)

Sad Story

Gonna tell ya’ a story…

Back in about 2004…

Concept was…



Assumption was…

InfoUSA had ~ 2/3 to ¾ of employment records

Employment Security Commission had ~ 2/3 to ¾ of employment records

Employment – Location (TAZ)

Sad Story (cont.)

Reality was…



Many problems

  • DBA v legal name

  • Subsets of large establishments done differently

  • GeoCoding errors

  • Most establishments are small, so there were tens of thousands of duplicates.

  • Etc.

Employment – Location (TAZ)

Happy Story

Employment Geocoder application





(2/3 to 3/4 of employers)

Employment by TAZ

Employment GeoCoder – Detailed Data

  • Check theBig Three


no. of employees; and

employment category.

Employment GeoCoder – Process

What do we do?

  • Train local planners on using GeoCoder: Raleigh, Durham, Cary, Chapel Hill, etc.

  • Give access to GeoCoder via Web

  • Provide strategies for doing the job

Whoa! There are thousands and thousands and…

There are too many employers!

Employment GeoCoder – Keep Your Focus

The medium-to-high concentrations of employees are most critical for the TRM to function properly.


Focus on large employers and employment centers

Sparse numbers of small employers are a low priority.

Don’t let perfection kill your progress!

Employment GeoCoder – Resources

  • Make sure to cover:

  • Large retail centers and strip malls

  • Office parks and centers

  • Commercial centers

  • Compare with other resources:

  • Chamber of Commerce list.

  • Economic Development office list.

  • Tax database.

  • Parcel database (land use codes).

  • Employment Security Commission (ESC).

  • School district.

  • Business license.

  • Google street view.

  • Photo marquis and facades

Employment GeoCoder -- Conclusion


Lots of work

Lots of collaboration


Reliable data

More confidence

Good base for forecasts

Mpos and trm area
MPOs and TRM Area

Durham-Chapel Hill-Carrboro MPO

Capital Area MPO

Employment – Location

Top Down

Bottom Up

Durham County