The Daily Yonder's coverage of rural economic issues, including workforce development and the future of work in rural America, is supported in part by Microsoft.
Last year was the first of a new administration, but the job trends in 2017 were same-old, continuing the movement of jobs into the country’s major metropolitan areas.
The number of jobs increased in both rural and urban areas of the country. But the increase was fastest in metropolitan areas of a million or more people.
These giant urban regions increased their share of the nation’s job pool. Smaller cities and rural areas lost share.
The map above shows who gained and lost employment over the last year. Red areas are rural counties that lost jobs from January 2017 to January 2018. Counties in green are rural areas that gained jobs in those 12 months.
Blue counties are in metropolitan areas and gained jobs. Orange counties are metro that lost jobs in 2017.
Click on a county and you’ll detailed detailed information.
The country gained nearly 2.3 million jobs in 2017, according to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. Seven out of 10 of these new jobs were found in metropolitan areas of a million or more people.
Rural America gained 154,000 jobs, but that wasn’t enough to keep up with the urban centers. Rural America had about 13 percent of the nation’s jobs in January 2017, but garnered only 6.8 percent of the jobs added during last year.
Job growth was considerably stronger in rural counties that were adjacent to metro areas. Those counties gained 121,000 jobs. Rural counties that weren’t adjacent to metro areas gained just 33,000 jobs.
The cities of a million or more had 57 percent of the jobs at the beginning of the year, but gained 69.8 percent of new openings.
The trend of jobs concentrating in large urban regions has been going on for years. It continued last year, even as unemployment rates in these regions dropped below 4.5 percent and during an administration of a president who promised that jobs would return to forgotten areas of the country.
Meanwhile, the size of the workforce in rural counties also declined slightly. (The workforce includes all those either in a job or looking for employment.) The workforce in rural America dropped by 40,000 people in the last year. That was a fraction of the 21 million people in the rural workforce at the beginning of the year, but every metro grouping gained workforce in this period.