Thursday, June 27, 2019

Annual economic classification of Appalachian counties shows more moving up, but coal country still struggles

ARC map, augmented by The Rural Blog with plus or minus signs to show counties whose status changed from last year
"An annual report from the Appalachian Regional Commission shows that while Appalachia is seeing some economic improvement, the heart of the region and its coal-producing communities are still struggling. Several counties in the Ohio Valley are moving in a negative direction in this year’s report," Becca Schmidt reports for Ohio Valley ReSource.

The report assesses county-level data in Appalachia on unemployment, per capita market income, and poverty, and divides the results into five tiers. On the low end are "economically distressed" counties that rank among the lowest 10 percent economically. Top performers are "attainment" counties, and in between are counties labeled "at risk," "transitional" or "competitive."

Most of the counties that moved down in class from last year were in Ohio and West Virginia, which is likely a function of coal's decline, Schmidt reports. Kentucky continued to have the lion's share of economically distressed counties. There were lots of gains, mainly in the southern half of Appalachia, but there were no gainers in Ohio, Pennsylvania, or New York.

No comments: