Friday, March 26, 2021

As the national job picture remained stagnant in January, rural areas continued to do a little better than cities

Employment change from January 2020 to January 2021
Daily Yonder map; click the image to enlarge it or click here for the interactive version.

"The slowdown in the creation of new jobs that began last fall has continued into 2021, according to employment data released Friday by the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. Throughout the late spring and summer, the nation gained jobs back from the plunge in employment that swept the country after the pandemic’s outbreak a year ago. But since the fall, there has been little change in the nation’s employment picture," Bill Bishop reports for The Daily Yonder.

Big cities continued to see the largest fall in employment, with 6.1 million jobs lost between January 2020 and January 2021—a 6.7 percent drop. "Rural counties have done a better job of holding on to their jobs throughout the past year," Bishop writes. "And that trend continued in the January 2021 jobs report. Rural counties had 3.1% fewer jobs this January compared to January 2020 (a negative 621,000 jobs). In December 2020, compared to the same month in 2019, rural employment was off by 3.2%."

On the upside, first-time unemployment claims fell sharply last week, according to broader figures released by the Labor Department. "Claims fell to 684,000 for the week ending March 20, a drop of 97,000 from the previous week and the first time that claims have dipped below 700,000 since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic last year," Kate Queram reports for Route Fifty. "Applications had never totaled above 700,000 before then, according to federal data. The previous record was 695,000, in October 1982." Continuing unemployment claims also declined, though more than 18.9 million Americans still collect unemployment benefits. 

Click here for more data and analysis from the Yonder, including charts, regional analysis, and an interactive map with county-level data.

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