On the brink of election, unemployment in rural America hits 4-year low

November 7, 2012 at 9:24 am 1 comment

This long campaign season came to an end last night, with President Obama securing another term, while his party has secured the majority in the U.S. Senate.  If there was one issue that was central to this election, it was the state of the economy. Over the past four years, the President has done much to keep the nation from the brink of another recession and move us toward an economic recovery. And on the eve of the election, the Daily Yonder pointed out that unemployment rates are on the decline, particularly in rural areas of the nation, where they are at the lowest they’ve been in the last four years.

The overall unemployment rate for rural America is at 7.4 percent– the lowest it has been since November 2008, when it was 6.7 percent. The map below shows that the unemployment rate compared to the national rate of 7.6 percent. Blue indicates that the rate in that area is below the national rate– darker means that it is falling, while lighter blue means that though it is below the national rate, it has increased over the past year.

The unemployment rate in urban areas is, by contrast, higher than the national rate, at 7.7 percent– but it is still the lowest since December 2008, when it was 7 percent.

These unemployment numbers are a hopeful sign that things may getting better in rural communities. But much work needs to be done before we can say that the recovery has been shared by all Americans. We know that rural areas face unique challenges that need to be addressed by our economic policies. Similarly, urban and suburban areas face their own unique challenges as well. The recovery so far has been marked by growing inequality.

So the challenge before the President and new Congress remains as great as ever. Last night, the President was right when he said in his victory speech that Americans voted for action, not politics as usual. Let’s hope that in the next four years, our elected officials can work together to toward long-term, systemic solutions. Let’s hope that these latest unemployment numbers are a real signal of change.


Entry filed under: Economic Development, Economy, Jobs & Employment. Tags: , , .

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1 Comment

  • 1. Rural housing gap continues to widen « thesupportcenter  |  November 30, 2012 at 11:24 am

    […] between rural and urban areas, that has characterized this economic recovery (here, here, and here). Reducing– or, in some cases eliminating–  funding for housing programs would be […]


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