The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that more than half of the nation's rural counties have more jobs this September than in September 2010. The improvement, however, was slight.
Unemployment rates in rural America continued to edge downward ever so slightly in September, according to data released by the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The September unemployment rate in the more than 2,000 counties in rural America was 8.5% — down from 8.8% in August.
The September figures show a slight improvement from September a year ago, when the rural unemployment rate was 8.8%. Rural counties have gained 55,629 jobs since September 2010.
Most rural counties have gained jobs in the last year, even if the numbers are small. Nearly 55 percent of rural counties gained some number of jobs in the last year.
The map above shows the change in the number of people employed from September of 2010 to September of this year in every rural county. Blue counties gained jobs. (Dark blue counties gained more than 100 jobs.) Orange counties lost jobs in the last year. (Click on the map to see a larger version.)
The dark blue counties gained the most jobs. The dark orange counties lost the most jobs. (Charts on the next page show the 50 rural counties that gained and lost the most jobs.)
Rural counties lagged metro and exurban counties in terms of job creation in the last 12 months, according to BLS.
The BLS figures show that most of the jobs created in the last year — there were 972,000 more jobs this September than last nationwide — could be found in metro counties. Nearly 83 percent of the new jobs created in the last year were in the cities. Rural counties picked up 5.7 percent of the new jobs and exurban counties picked up 11.4 percent of new jobs.
Still, rural, exurban and urban rates continue to track each other quite closely, as the chart below shows.
The chart below shows the rural counties that lost the most jobs in the last year. Louisiana has 8 counties on the list. Washington has seven, many on the coast. New York has five counties on this list.
Louisiana’s Tangipahoa Parish lost the most jobs in the last year, a total of 1,868. Colorado’s Saguache County had the largest percentage drop in employment. The south central county lost nearly 22 percent of its jobs in the last year.
Oklahoma had the largest share of counties among those 50 in rural America that gained the most employment in the last year. The chart below shows the 50 rural counties gaining the most jobs in the last year.