Feds: Rural job growth flat

As we were wrapping up work in International Falls this week for the Daily Circuit special "Rethinking a Company Town," the federal Economic Research Service put out a sobering view of rural employment.

This is how our friends at the Daily Yonder put it: "Folks looking for good news in the 2013 “Rural America at a Glance” report had better pack a lunch – you could be hunting for a while."

As the country came out of the recession, metro and non-metro areas grew employment at similar rates. But that's changed. Since the beginning of 2011, metro employment has risen at an annual rate of 1.4 percent. Non-metro employment has been flat.

ERS metro and nonmetro job growth
Metro and nonmetro employment. Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service

Minnesota's loss of 265 paper mill jobs in International Falls as of Oct. 1 didn't help the trend line.

Indeed, rural Minnesota doesn't look so good on this national map. Green is job growth (think North Dakota oil fields). Red is not good.

ERS national employment change map 2013
Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service

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