Rural Counties Losing Jobs Faster Than Cities

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This recession is worse than the previous two — and it is hitting manufacturing counties much harder than communities with high farm employment.

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See the map here for unemployment rates in rural and exurban counties for January.) The chart above, produced by economists Sean Moore and Mark Drabenstott, tells us first that this recession is severe, deep and continuing.

(The Yonder has asked several groups of economists to explain how this economic downturn is affecting rural America. This is the first of several reports.)

Moore and Drabenstott, working with the Rural Policy Research Institute, depict a rural economy that resisted the recession for some time before finally succumbing late last year.  You can see in the chart below that rural counties maintained steady employment until last fall. As recently as  November 2008, rural counties were showing a lower rate of job loss than urban communities. Since November, however, rural unemployment has accelerated.

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