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Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City
Economic Review
Will rains and a national recovery bring rural prosperity?
Jason Henderson
Nancy Novack

Drought and a jobless recovery battered the rural economy in 2002. The worst drought since the Dust Bowl gripped many parts of rural America, leading to forest fires, livestock liquidations, short crop supplies, and a plunge in farm incomes. After a solid start, a soft period for the national economy limited the ability of rural businesses to create new jobs. As rural stakeholders looked at their new menu of economic options, many were left wondering if rains and a stronger national recovery would be enough to lead rural America back to prosperity. ; Henderson and Novack examine the rural outlook in the face of drought and a weak national recovery. They analyze the current state of the farm economy, focusing on the drought and its impacts on the farm sector. Next, they explore the jobless recovery on the Main Streets and industrial parks of rural communities. They conclude that the return of rain and stronger national economic growth should improve the prospects for rural areas in 2003. To prosper in the long run, however, many rural places must create new opportunities forged on a renewed commitment to entrepreneurship and innovation.

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Jason Henderson & Nancy Novack, "Will rains and a national recovery bring rural prosperity?" , Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, Economic Review, issue Q I, pages 77-96, 2003.
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Keywords: Droughts ; Rural areas
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