Thursday, October 21, 2010

Rural counties with highest unemployment in 2009 are now doing better

The stark contrasts that marked unemployment rates across rural America a year ago appear to have begun leveling out. Last year the rural southeast had some of the nation's highest unemployment rates while Texas and the Mountain West were gaining rural jobs. A year later, "Alabama, which has had some of the highest unemployment rates in the country, appears to be better off than much of Texas, which has had low unemployment rates," Bill Bishop and Roberto Gallardo of the Daily Yonder report. "This is not saying that Alabama’s rural economy is doing better than rural Texas counties. What the map, below, tells us is that there has been a shift, and that many of the counties with the highest unemployment a year ago are now doing better." (Yonder map)

Areas that showed low unemployment rates last year like rural Texas, Colorado, Utah, Montana and Idaho have seen their unemployment rates rise. One constant was rural North Dakota which boasted low unemployment rates last year that have continued to decline, Bishop and Gallardo write. The nationwide rural unemployment rate dropped to 9.2 percent in August, compared to the 9.5 percent unemployment rate for the country as a whole. The urban unemployment rates was 9.7 percent and exurban rate was 8.9 percent. (Read more)

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