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Rural counties continued to lag the rest of the nation in job growth over the last year, according to the latest federal employment reports.

Job growth in the country’s most rural places was less than half the rate of the nation as a whole. Job growth is concentrating in the nation’s largest metro areas. Over 60% of the new jobs created between July 2018 and July of this year (the most recent county-level data available) were found in metro areas with more than a million people.

Only 8 percent of the new jobs were created in rural counties.

The largest rural job declines were in Hawaii. The largest gains were scattered across the country, from Jackson County, West Virginia, to the coasts of South Carolina and Alabama.

Only 20 percent of urban counties lost jobs in the last year, compared to 45 percent of rural counties.

The map on this page shows job gains and loses from July of 2018 to July of this year.

The last several job reports issued by the Bureau of Labor Statistics show particular employment strength in mid-sized cities – and job decreases in the nation’s largest metro areas.

In California, Los Angeles County lost 20,000 jobs in the last year; Orange County lost 10,000 jobs. New York City counties lost a total of 68,000 jobs.

Meanwhile, smaller metro areas (those between 250,000 and 1 million people) grew jobs at a faster rate than the major cities. Jobs grew in Reno, Nevada, by 6 percent, in Des Moines, Iowa, by 5.3 percent, and Omaha, Nebraska, by 3.5 percent.

The chart shows the rate of job growth by metropolitan status, with the most urban counties on the left and the most rural counties on the right. Major metros have populations of 1 million or more; medium metros , 250,000 to under 1 million; small metros, 50,000 to under 250,000. Nonmetro adjacent counties are outside, but adjacent to, a metro area. Nonadjacent nonmetro counties do not border any metropolitan area. (Daily Yonder graphic)

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