do eds and meds explain differences in metro/non-metro performance over the recession? you betcha!

In my previous post I commented on the differences in metro and non-metro county employment pictures over the course of the Great Recession. I spent a bit more time with the data, and find that one of the main reasons is the comparative importance and performance of the education and health services sector.

In the following chart I use BLS-CES data to show job annual job change (non seasonally adjusted) in “Education and Health Services” in Colorado. I show the performance of counties that are in MSAs, which is tracked by BLS on a monthly basis. (There may be some noise in this as non-metro counties are calculated as the difference between the state totals and MSA totals, rather than directly counted.)

In every year since 2007 we see that the sector has grown faster in metro-counties than in rural ones (it’s also a larger part of the metro employment base). In the context with my previous post about the rural areas having been harder hit by the recession, one of the main reasons is that the one sector that has done relatively well statewide is doing “better” in metro counties than in non-metro ones. Thus, it has not been able to alleviate the recession’s fallout in rural areas as well as it has in metro ones.

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