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.

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.

Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service