December was a tough time for making a living in the heartland. The Daily Yonder reports that the rural unemployment rate was half a percentage point higher than the urban rate. In the first 12 months of the recession, rural counties lost just under 15,000 jobs, compared to 282,000 in December 2008 alone.
Any given place lost jobs for its own reasons, from the RV shutdown in Elkhart County, Ind., to the houseboat collapse of southeastern Kentucky. And then there's this:
In Deschutes County, Oregon, the unemployment rate has nearly doubled in the past year even as the number of jobs has increased. The problem in the fast-growing area around Bend is that more people are moving into the region than there are jobs being created. "The phenomenon we've seen here is what happens all the time, is they move here without jobs," said Roger Lee with Economic Development for Central Oregon.