West Virginia’s population is increasingly living in urban areas, with those urban areas experiencing all the state’s job growth in the past quarter century, leaving rural West Virginia behind in many key areas, according to a new West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy report.
The report, State of Rural West Virginia, shows rural West Virginians primarily have poorer health, lower educational attainment levels, lower wages, are older and have fewer job opportunities outside of industrial and extractive industries, underscoring the contrast between the state’s rural and urban areas.
Rural West Virginia has been plagued with job losses from 2007 – 2016, losing more than 21,000 jobs, or eight percent, highlighting the uneven balance of West Virginia’s weak economic recovery.
A full 30 percent of Kentuckians are working jobs that pay less than $12.50 an hour; fewer than half working in the private sector have an employer-sponsored retirement plan and just 44 percent have employer-sponsored health insurance. In economically distressed regions, even bad jobs are scarce.
Yet we often hear that the problem facing Kentucky is a lack of good workers. This “skills gap” explanation of Kentucky’s economic situation is not supported by the evidence, but you don’t have to take my word for it. When someone says Kentucky employers can’t fill jobs with good workers, ask “at what wage?”
New Mexico’s unique cultural diversity, great natural beauty, and strong sense of community make it a resilient state, but there’s much more work to be done to achieve our full potential. Tax cuts for the wealthy and well-connected have bled New Mexico of the funding we need for critical investments in education, health care, and other services that help children succeed. After years of these race-to-the-bottom economic strategies, we’ve hit rock-bottom — we’re last in the nation for child well-being.
In our Roadmap to a Stronger New Mexico, we encourage elected officials to prioritize children in policymaking and budget decisions. We ask them to make the sometimes-tough decisions to put children and families first – because that’s the best way to strengthen New Mexico.
To move forward, we must:
• Invest in working families.
• Grow good jobs by investing in education.
• Invest in health.
• Promote equity and ensure that our communities have the tools they need to prosper.
• Restore an effective and efficient government that works for everyone.
- September 6, 2018
- North Carolina Justice Center
- Alexandra Forter Sirota, Allan Freyer, Patrick McHugh, Suzy Khachaturyan, William Munn, and Hyun Namkoong
As North Carolina grapples with the best way to build stronger regional economies, policymakers should consider the central and positive role that public infrastructure can play in deepening the connections for the state’s workforce to jobs, the state’s businesses to markets and the state’s residents to well-being.
This year’s State of Working North Carolina report presents the ways in which public infrastructure and local assets — specifically, anchor institutions — can help connect workers in rural areas to jobs, boost rural communities, and contribute to more equitable growth of the state’s economy.