Rural Unemployment Continues Dropping

Two-thirds of rural and exurban counties had unemployment rates in October that were lower than the average jobless rate in urban America.

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Unemployment continued to drop in rural and exurban counties in October. 

The jobless rate in rural counties was 7.3 percent in October, the latest for which the Bureau of Labor Statistics has released results. The rate in exurban counties — counties that are part of metro areas, but have a large proportion of people living in rural settings — fell to 6.9 percent.

The urban unemployment rate was 7.7 percent in October.


The map at top shows all rural and exurban counties and notes whether their October unemployment rates are above or below the urban rate. Two-thirds of rural and exurban counties have rates below the urban number. Those counties are in green. The counties in magenta (we think that’s right on the color) have rates above 7.7 percent, the urban average.

Click on the map to see a larger version.

As you can see, rural unemployment is highest east of the Mississippi River and west of the Rocky Mountains. It is lowest in the states straddling the 100th Meridian, in the Great Plains. 

Rural unemployment is down by a point since October a year ago; exurban unemployment is down 1.1 points from October 2011.

Below are two charts showing where jobs have been created and destroyed in rural America. The first chart is of the 50 counties that have added the most jobs since October a year ago. 


North Carolina has the most counties in the top 50, with 11. Pennsylvania and Texas both have seven counties that have produced a large number of jobs in the last 12 months.

And here are the 50 rural counties with the most job losses in the last year. Washington state has six counties in the top 50. The rest of the list is filled out by a smattering of counties from across the country.




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