Exurban Unemployment: A Switch

Unemployment rates in exurban counties were higher than the national average early in 2010. Now, jobless rates in these counties are lower than in rural or urban counties.

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At the beginning of last year, unemployment in exurban and rural counties was higher than in the cities. By April, however, urban counties came to have the highest unemployment and exurban and rural unemployment fell.

For most of 2010, the lowest unemployment rates have been in exurbia. Exurban counties are in metropolitan regions, but they are on the edges of the cities. In these counties, about 45% of the residents live in rural settings. 

In November, exurban counties had an 8.7% unemployment rate. The national average was 9.3%. The rural unemployment rate was 9.2%.

It’s been some months since we examined unemployment in these counties. The map above shows the unemployment rates in the nation’s 522 exurban counties.

The counties in green above had unemployment rates in November (the last month for which county figures are available) that are below the national average of 9.3%. Dark green counties have rates below 7%. Click on the map to see a large version.

The purple counties have rates above the national average — with the dark purple counties having unemployment rates above 11%. (See the next page for a list of the 50 exurban counties with the highest and lower unemployment rates in November 2010.)

Exurbia has the same patterns of unemployment as the rest of the country. Counties in the Southeast, Michigan and the Pacific coast are dotted in dark purple. The once fast growing exurban counties in Georgia and the Carolinas are now centers of high unemployment. The Upper Great Plains exurban counties generally have very low unemployment — just as these states have low unemployment in rural counties.

The exurban counties with the lowest unemployment are in Nebraska, the Dakotas and Iowa:

[img:exurbanlow.gif]The exurban counties with highest unemployment are scattered across the Southeast and Pacific coast.

[img:exurbanlow.gif]

 

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