State of Rural XX

Through the State of Working XX project, EARN groups are seeking to offer an alternative approach to thinking about non-urban areas and their needs, while also engaging in new ways in small cities and rural communities. Despite the code-language driven perception that the challenged non-urban communities are primarily white, there many areas where economic decline and state neglect have placed people of color and white people alike in a precarious economic condition. The State of Working XX effort will highlight the spectrum of issues and populations affected by them and point the way to solutions to improve economic conditions for all people in rural areas.


Kentucky’s Changing Labor Force Participation, Explained

With the economy now experiencing the longest recovery on record, there is a temptation among some to overstate the strength of the labor market and even cast blame on workers if they are not currently employed. Measures like the labor force participation rate are often misused to support those claims. But a close look at this measure shows a more nuanced story about Kentucky’s economy and the makeup of who is in, and more importantly who is not in, our labor force.

State of Rural West Virginia

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.