Rural Employment in Four States: A Story of Specialization and Change (2010 through 2019)

Abstract: The media are full of stories about rural areas suffering from economic stagnation or withering away from depopulation, but do these stories represent all of rural America (Swenson, 2019)? The short answer is no. While some rural places have experienced long-term employment loss, others have experienced employment growth. Whether facing employment gains or losses, a region’s success depends on its resilience or ability to prepare for, adapt to, and thrive in changing economic environments. This report looks at employment trends in the nonmetropolitan counties in the Fourth District and their dominant industries. Several trends emerge from the analysis. One is the tendency for these nonmetropolitan places to specialize in either manufacturing or natural resources and mining. Another indicates deep cause for concern for eastern Kentucky’s economy. Yet, there are initiatives within these regions that build on their assets and work toward adapting to economic change. These initiatives range from workforce retraining to building a talent pipeline to supply local industries.

Keywords: Employment;

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Bibliographic Information

Provider: Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland

Part of Series: Community Development Publications

Publication Date: 2021-05-27

Number: 20210527