Unfortunately, unemployment rates in rural America roughly doubled between 2007 and 2010. However, the USDA Economic Research Service reports that after peaking in 2010, rural Americans are seeing steadily improved levels of employment.
Higher educational status correlates to lower unemployment, but rural Americans of all educational levels saw declining unemployment rates during this period. Those with less than a high school diploma saw unemployment rates fall from around 15% to just below 10%. On the other end of the spectrum, those with a bachelor’s degree or higher saw unemployment rates fall from around 4% to 2%.
Rural and urban unemployment rates have since fallen toward pre-recession levels. The overall unemployment rate as of 2016 was 5.7% in rural areas and 5.2% in urban areas.
This chart originally appears in the April 2017 ERS report Rural Education at a Glance, 2017 Edition.