The New York Times compared data for three economic measures: number of jobs, average wage, and unemployment rate. "Among the 3,142 U.S. counties, more than 1,700 had either fewer jobs, lower inflation-adjusted average wages or a higher unemployment rate in 2019 than in 2016," Jed Kolko reports for the Times. "Almost 500 counties had setbacks in at least two of these three measures (meeting our definition of worse off). A handful of small counties were especially unfortunate, declining on all three measures."
Most of the worse-off counties are rural, and none of the worse-off counties are in the largest metropolitan areas, Kolko reports.