Job Loss Concentrated in Rural

More than nine out of every 10 jobs still missing from the 2007 recession are in rural areas.

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Cities have regenerated almost all the jobs they lost in the recession that started in 2007. But nonmetropolitan counties have a long way to go to get back to their pre-recession job levels.

Although the U.S. economy has been adding jobs in recent years, it still has 718,000 fewer jobs today than it did before the recession started five-and-a-half years ago, according to the latest figures from the Bureau for Labor Statistics.

Of that net loss in jobs, more than 90 percent are in counties outside metropolitan areas – either in rural areas or counties with small cities.

The recession began in December 2007. The map above shows if rural and micropolitan counties have gained or lost jobs from 2007 to May of this year. (Urban counties are in gray.)

Yellow counties have fewer jobs in May 2013 than the average employment in 2007. Blue counties have more jobs today than they did in 2007.

Click on the map to get an interactive version. There you can scroll over counties and pull up detailed information on each — job totals for 2007 and May 2013; and unemployment rates. Every county, rural and urban, has data.

Here is the comparison in employment between 2007 and May 2013:

Rural Counties: There are 263,000 fewer jobs in rural counties today than in 2007, a decline of 3%. The number of unemployed has increased by 198,000 in the last six years. (The difference between the loss of jobs and the increase in umemployment is a result of fewer people looking for work in those counties, through relocation, death or giving up the job search.)

Micropolitan Counties: Counties with small cities have 388,000 fewer jobs now than in 2007; the number of unemployed has increased by 314,000.

Urban Counties: The cities have 67,000 fewer jobs today than in 2007, but they have 3.76 million more unemployed.

Cities have 90 percent of the increase in unemployed. Rural and small town counties have 90 percent of the decrease in jobs.

The average unemployment rate in rural counties remained at 7.6 percent in May, the same rate as in April.

The unemployment rate in counties with small cities (between 10,000 and 50,000 people) actually rose to 7.5 percent. The rate in these counties was 7.3 percent in April. (These are called micropolitan counties.)

Similarly, the unemployment rate in the cities rose from 7.1 percent in April to 7.2 percent in May.

These figures are not seasonally adjusted.

 

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