Overview

Labor market conditions substantially impact both individual and community well-being. Important indicators of labor market conditions include the unemployment rate, employment growth, and earnings levels.

Rural employment in the first half of 2016 rose above its 2015 level, but as of the second quarter of 2016, there were still fewer rural (nonmetropolitan) jobs than at the start of the recession.

Educational attainment is closely linked to labor market outcomes, as those who are more highly educated generally receive higher earnings and are less likely to be unemployed. Rural areas are closing the gap with urban (metropolitan) areas in high school completion, but the college completion gap is growing. Workers with a college background generally fare better in the labor market. This is especially true in urban areas. 

A summary of rural employment topics (among other rural issues) is found in the Rural America at a Glance series, updated in the fall of each year. See the latest in the series:

For a summary of conditions and trends in rural education, see the ERS report:

This topic is organized into sections on Rural Employment and Unemployment and Rural Education.