Recession in Rural America by the Numbers

[imgbelt img=childpoverty528.jpg]What has the recession done to rural America? The Economic Research Service tells all.


[imgcontainer] [img:EmploymentChange528.jpg] [source]Economic Research Service

The Green areas gained employment from the second quarter of 2008 to the second quarter of this year. The red counties lost between 3.5% and 17.5% of their jobs in that year. Click on map for a better look.

Once a year the folks at the Economic Research Service publish a report on rural America. It’s called Rural America at a Glance and this year’s edition focuses on the recession.

No surprise there. Friday we learned that the recession has “plunged 2.6 million more Americans into poverty, wiped out the household income gains of an entire decade and pushed the number of people without health insurance up to 46.3 million,” according to the Washington Post. 

These latest Census Bureau figures don’t tell us whether the recession is better or worse in rural America. That’s what the ERS tries to do. Here are some excerpts from the full report:


In late 2008 and early 2009, the recession deepened, with national gross domestic product falling at an annual rate of 6.2 percent. Commodity prices also fell. Nonmetro unemployment rose from 5.2 percent in mid-2008 to 9.2 percent in mid-2009, while metro unemployment rose from 5.3 percent to 9.1 percent over the same period. Both metro and nonmetro areas suffered from the contraction of manufacturing, retail, and other sectors. The overall pace of employment decline, however, was greater in metro areas (-3.8 percent) than in nonmetro areas (-3.0 percent).