Rural Counties Gain Jobs
Rural counties began adding jobs in February and, as a result, the unemployment rates in rural America dipped.
Unemployment in rural counties was still high in February, at 11.1%, far above the rural rate of 4.5% in October, 2007. But the rate was down slightly from the 11.2% rate in January.
The rural unemployment rate had been rising steadily since September, when the rate was 9.3%. In February, however, the nation added jobs, and rural communities got their share. Rural counties added more than 62,000 jobs from January to February, and in those same counties, there were 14,000 fewer unemployed.
Those job gains were not spread evenly across rural America, as the map above shows. The green counties showed job gains between January and February. (The darker the green, the more jobs were added.) Red counties lost jobs. (To see a bigger version of the map, click on the map or here.)
Seven counties reported job gains of more than 1,000. They are Poweshiek County, Iowa (2,561); Oktibbeha County, Mississippi (2,316); Jackson County, Illinois (1,776); Madison County, Idaho (1,451); Portage County, Wisconsin (1,241); McDonough County, Illinois (1,069); and Dunn County, Wisconsin (1,043).
Two counties reported losing more than 1,000 jobs from January to February: Sussex County, Delaware (-1,230) and Lee County, Iowa (-1,015).
Oklahoma appeared to be leaking jobs in early 2010, as did rural Texas, Colorado, Utah, Nevada and Washington. Nearly two-thirds of all rural counties lost jobs between January and February.
Missouri, Ohio, Arkansas and Louisiana all appear to be gaining rural jobs. Only about a third of rural counties gained jobs during this period, but the gains were large enough to offset the losses.
Exurban counties gained 31,000 jobs in early 2010. Two exurban counties gained nearly 3,000 jobs in the month. They are Centre County, Pennsylvania and Tompkins County, New York.
Urban counties nationally gained 301,000 jobs from January to February. Among urban counties, the largest job increases were in Cook County, Illinois (Chicago), and Los Angeles County, California.
As the chart below shows, unemployment rates are still higher in rural counties than in urban or exurban counties. But rates in all three turned in February.
Here are the fifty rural counties that reported the largest job gains from January to February 2010.
And here are the fifty rural counties that reported the largest job losses from January to February 2010.