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  • Recession: How Does it Affect a Rural Area?

    2011 - 10.20

    Recession: How does it Impact a Rural Community?

    *Published on Yahoo! as an opinion and editorial piece

    I browse news articles on the internet on a daily basis, and I never fail to come across an article that discusses top jobs that are in demand or how to budget your money in a failing economy. I think the most outrageous article I read about in demand jobs was “Jobs That Are Hard to Fill – Even in 2011” on Monster.com where the author mentioned that teaching jobs were hard to fill in rural communities. Excuse me? I live in a rural community. I am also a certified teacher that has been out of college since 2009 who still cannot get a job as a classroom teacher because of all the cuts to education and layoffs in my area. I remember thinking to myself, “Where do these people get this information? There is virtually no demand for any of these jobs here!” The article listed jobs such as information technology and corporate managers as in high demand and hard to fill. That might be true if you live in an urbanized area, but here, we live a simpler kind of life where major corporations do not exist.

    The area in which I live is economically depressed even when the economy is doing well. According to Wikipedia, the average income for a household in my town of 17,096 is listed as $22,068, and the median income for a family is $28,744. In other words, in a household where both parents are working and supporting children, each individual parent is earning a salary around $14,372 a year. That means the hourly wage for someone in this area is barely above minimum wage. Only about 6% of our population holds a Bachelor’s Degree. So why is it that my teacher aide job is only paying me $10,000 a year?

    Exactly how does a recession impact a rural community? For starters, the unemployment rate for my community is 8.4%, compared the national average of 9.1%, according to SimplyHired.com. That is about 1,436 people without jobs and still counting. Economists said that the recession ended in 2009 which is the same year I graduated college. I did not notice an end to the recession because people were still unemployed and being laid off. If the recession truly ended in 2009, we certainly could not tell.

    A rural community like mine is almost always the last to recover from economic recession much like we are always the last to acquire the latest technology in communications (we are still on 3G here). An economic recession kills an already depressed job market, and people in many different fields, even those who hold college degrees or have been with their places of employment for many years, wind up losing their jobs and unable to find work because the job market is cruelly limited to begin with. Job opportunities rarely present themselves here because our city does not expand business and commerce as quickly as cities and other urban areas.

    So how do you fight it? In my area, there is not much one can do aside from packing up and moving elsewhere in the hopes that the grass is greener on the other side. Many people I know are currently working two or three part time jobs to make ends meet or simply riding it out on unemployment benefits while sending out resumes that produce no response from prospective employers. Some have simply given up. I am hopeful, however, that with the upcoming elections in November 2012, things will begin looking up.

     

     

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