Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Job growth in rural areas continues to lag

"Job growth in rural America continues to lag the rest of the country, according to the latest figures from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics," Bill Bishop reports for The Daily Yonder. While jobs increased about 2 percent in large metropolitan areas from June 2016 to June 2017, rural areas overall only increased 0.29 percent, and the 924 counties that are farthest away from cities didn't gain jobs at all; they declined by 0.02 percent.
Daily Yonder map; click on it to enlarge
"Moreover, rural areas have been losing workforce, the total number of people either working or looking for a job," Bishop reports. "From June 2016 to June of this year, the rural workforce has shrunk by just over 105,000 people, or about 0.5 percent. That has helped keep rural unemployment rates low, but it indicates that the economy in many rural areas is hollowing out."

Rural areas have struggled to add jobs since the end of the Great Recession in 2009. There are new jobs to be had, but they're mostly concentrated in America's largest cities. "Seventy percent of the growth in employment since last June took place in the metropolitan areas with a million or more people," Bishop reports. Click here for a zoomable county-by-county map detailing job growth trends in America.

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