Rural North Carolina hit hardest by down economy

new unemployment data released by the N.C. Employment Security Commission last week—and worse may be coming as spending cuts in the recently passed state budget slowly phase in over the coming months.

The above table shows the hardest hit areas – with the key indicating that the average rural unemployment rate is 1% higher than it’s urban counterpart. This leaves rural areas far more vulnerable to the negative economic impacts of budget-related spending cuts, according to NCPolicyWatch.

We discussed last week how the global unemployment problems may take five more years to reach the pre-economic downturn levels – and it seems North Carolina is a region that may suffer in particular. Rural communities would need to expand their employment by 165,300 jobs simply to return to the employment levels seen before the recession in September 2007. Meanwhile, urban labor markets have recovered somewhat better—urban counties have a jobs deficit of only 111,234.

It is clear from these numbers that the labor market across the state is still struggling to recover from the recent recession, and rural communities are unquestionably suffering the most. Rural North Carolina is seeing higher unemployment rates and need to create thousands more jobs than the state’s urban counties in order to catch up to pre-recession levels.

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