Unemployment rates are slightly below pre-pandemic levels in rural counties but are still significantly higher in urban counties

Line chart showing percent of unemployment in nonmetro counties (not persistent poverty), metro counties (not persistent poverty), nonmetro counties (persistent poverty) and metro (persistent poverty) from January 2019 to November 2021.

By late January 2022, the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic resulted in 71 million cases and 860,000 deaths across the United States. The pandemic’s effects varied by location, however, with differences apparent in rural (nonmetro) and urban (metro) parts of the country, as well as between persistently poor counties and those that were not.

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