Wednesday, November 04, 2020

Most rural counties lost jobs from Sept. 2019 to Sept. 2020, but metro counties did worse; see county-level data

Map shows percentage change of employment rate from September 2019 to September 2020, compared to the national average of 6.47% loss during the 12-month period. Daily Yonder map; click here for the interactive version.

Most U.S. counties had fewer people working in September 2020 than in September 2019, but rural counties lost a smaller percentage of jobs than the largest metropolitan counties, according to the latest Bureau of Labor Statistics employment figures. That's likely because jobs in many rural areas, especially those that rely on agriculture instead of tourism, are somewhat insulated from nationwide employment trends. 

"In fact, rural counties are slowly adding jobs as the country’s major metro areas continue to struggle," Bill Bishop reports for The Daily Yonder. "Rural counties lost a little over 4% of the jobs they had in September 2019. In contrast, the metropolitan counties that contain the urban centers of cities of a million or more people have lost nearly 8% of the jobs they had a year ago. The nation as a whole lost 6.5% jobs over these 12 months."

In September 2019, the average unemployment rate in major metropolitan areas was at or below 3.5%, slightly lower than in rural counties. But in September 2020, the unemployment rate in rural counties was 6%, compared to 9.7% in the central counties of the largest cities, Bishop reports. Click here for more analysis, including an interactive map with the latest county-level data.

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