Wednesday, February 19, 2014

County-by-county map shows how rural jobs lost during recession still haven't been regained

While the unemployment rate in metro areas and small cities has decreased slightly, the rural unemployment rate continues to inch higher. Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show that in December, the rural unemployment rate rose to 7 percent from 6.9 percent in November, while the rate in metrpolitan areas dropped to 6.4 percent from 6.6 percent, reports the Daily Yonder. In urbanized areas with 10,000 to 50,000 people, called "micropolitan," the rate dropped to 6.7 percent from 6.8 percent.

"More troubling than the stalled month-to-month unemployment rate, however, is the fact that rural counties and counties with small towns still don’t have the jobs that existed before the recession began in December 2007—more than six years ago," the Yonder reports. One reason for that could be stagnant or declining population; rural population in the U.S. declined last year for the first time in history.

The Yonder compared the number of jobs the BLS counted in December with the number of jobs the agency found in all of 2007, before the recession began. They found that urban counties had 100,000 more jobs than in 2007, but that rural counties had 382,000 fewer jobs than in 2007, and "counties with small towns had 448,000 fewer jobs at the end of 2013 than in all of 2007. Combined, the counties outside metropolitan regions had 830,000 fewer jobs in December 2013 than the average of 2007." (Read more) (This Yonder map is interactive. To view individual counties click here)

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