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.
Everything in Palmer, Massachusetts has closed or is on the verge of closing. The factories in this Western Massachusetts town closed first. Then the flower shop. Now the taxi wants to shut down and so does the video story.
The Washington Post reports that Palmer could be one of three towns to be home to a full-fledged casino under a plan proposed by Gov. Deval Patrick. Patrick is asking the legislature to open three casinos, one in rural Palmer. In Palmer, people want the jobs the casino will bring. But what about the rest of it?
In Western Massachusetts, the unemployment rate reaches 7.5 percent, far above the national average. The Post describes Palmer’s main street at “desolate” on a weekday afternoon. “It’s work,” said one Palmer resident. “And what does western Massachusetts need? Jobs. It’s not like it was, and never will e again. If they don’t do this, they have to do something else.”