Rural areas lost 10,000 jobs in the last year. During the same period, metro counties and counties with small cities added nearly 2 million jobs.
The unemployment rate continues to fall in rural America, but that doesn’t mean that counties in the countryside are recovering the jobs they have lost over the last several years.
There are more jobs this July than in July a year ago in the nation’s metropolitan and micropolitan counties, according to the latest surveys released by the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. (Micropolitan counties contain cities of between 10,000 and 50,000 people.)
Rural counties, however, have fewer people working than July a year ago.
The BLS figures show that of the 1.9 million net gain in jobs since last July, 99 percent were created in urban counties.
Those counties have nearly 1.9 million more people working this July compared to July of 2012. Micropolitan counties have 26,000 more people working.
In this same period, rural counties lost just over 10,000 jobs.
The map above shows where those jobs were gained and lost in rural and micropolitan counties. Red counties lost jobs in the last year. The counties in blue gained jobs over the last 12 months.
The gray counties are metropolitan.
(If you click on the map, you will then be able to scroll over individual counties and retrieve employment data for particular places.)
The overall unemployment rate — and the number of those officially unemployed — continued to fall in July 2013:
Earlier in this recession, unemployment was less of a problem in rural areas. You can see from the July to July comparison, however, that urban areas are recovering with greater speed than rural or micropolitan counties.
Still, there are 136,000 fewer unemployed people in rural and micropolitan counties this July than in July of 2012.