Rural Job Growth Accelerates in October

The latest federal numbers show that rural counties added 428,000 jobs in the last year, an increase of 2.7%. That’s just slightly lower than the metropolitan job-growth rate.

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Rural America added 428,000 jobs in the last year, according to figures just released from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Job growth in rural counties was just a smidgen slower (about half a percentage point) than job growth in metropolitan counties, which added nearly 3.4 million from October of 2013 to October of this year.

The map above shows job losses and gains in rural counties from October of last year to October 2014, based on BLS figures.

(In this article, “rural” America includes all counties that aren’t in metropolitan statistical areas or MSAs. MSAs include counties that have a city or urban core of 50,000 or more residents, plus the adjacent counties where a high percentage of residents commutes to the urban core for work.)

Here’s the information in the map:

  • Red areas are rural counties that lost jobs in the last year.
  • Orange counties gained fewer than 100 jobs.
  • Blue counties are the rural areas that gained between 100 and 500 jobs.
  • Green counties gained more than 500 jobs in the last year.
  • Gray counties are metropolitan.

If you click on any county — including the metro counties — you can find employment data, including the current unemployment rate and the number of jobs added or lost in the last year. Click away.

The pace of job creation is quickening. Rural counties in September had 208,000 more jobs than September a year ago. Rural counties added more than twice that number from October 2013 to October of this year.

Metropolitan counties had 2.7% more jobs this year than in October of 2013. Rural counties had 2.1% more jobs than a year ago.

If rural counties had gained jobs at the same pace as in the cities, they would have added 121,000 more jobs.

The unemployment rate in rural counties, however, dropped below the rate in the cities. The rate in metro America was 5.6%. The rate in rural counties with small cities (between 10,000 and 50,000, also called “micropolitan” counties) was 5.3% The rate was 5.5% in rural counties that had no town larger than 10,000 people in its borders.

In October, 86% of the jobs in America were in metro counties. 

 

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