Employment grows in 3 out of 5 rural counties

Employment grows in 3 out of 5 rural counties

Employment grew in about 60 percent of rural counties (1,227 out of 1,976) between the first half of 2015 and the first half of 2016. Rural counties with rising employment levels were located in all regions of the country, but concentrated in the Midwest, the Southeast, and Pacific Northwest. Many counties with falling employment levels were located in States with significant oil and gas resources that had seen employment growth in past years, such as North Dakota, Oklahoma, and Pennsylvania; this trend reflects a recent decline in mining activity. Rural employment has risen modestly—including an increase of about 1.3 percent between 2013 and 2015—as the national economy has recovered since employment levels bottomed out in 2010. Employment grew another 0.5 percent between the end of 2015 and the second quarter of 2016, when it reached more than 20 million workers. Still, the overall rural employment level remains well below its pre-recession level. This map appears in the topic page for Rural Employment and Unemployment on the ERS website, updated November 2016.

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