Monday, October 08, 2012

Rural unemployment drops, but number of jobs doesn't change

The unemployment rate in rural and exurban counties dropped slightly in August, the Daily Yonder reports. It fell to 7.99 percent in rural counties and 7.6 in exurban, which are counties within metropolitan areas, but with half the residents living in rural settings, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data. The rural rate in July was 8.4 percent, and 8 percent in exurban. Almost nine out of 10 rural counties reported lower unemployment rates this year. (Yonder map shows rural, exurban unemployment change from Aug. 2011 to Aug. 2012; Blue counties had a decrease, orange had an increase.)
"Just because unemployment rates are lower, however, doesn't mean that there's been a boom in rural employment," Yonder Co-Editor Bill Bishop reports. There are slightly fewer people employed in rural counties this August than last August. The number of jobs in rural counties has decreased by almost 3,200 over the past year, according to the BLS. Bishop writes the rural unemployment rate has dropped because the workforce has dropped by almost 230,000 people. The workforce in exurban and urban counties increased during that period.

Four of the 10 rural counties with the largest unemployment increases over the last year were Appalachian coal-producing counties in Kentucky, where coal companies have laid off miners due to power-plant competition from natural gas. West Virginia's Boone County had the greatest unemployment increase. The rest of the top counties with the largest unemployment increases come from Nebraska, Louisiana and Colorado. Almost half the 50 counties with the largest declines in unemployment rates were in Mississippi. (Read more)

No comments: