Where the Jobs Aren’t

Cities are where the jobs are. Where the money is, where opportunity is found, and where housing costs are beyond reach for many workers. Rural counties with no town larger than 50,000 are in a downward spiral. As people with ambition leave, jobs also leave, the tax base shrivels, and attitudes harden among those who remain.

A boom in some extractive industry, like gas or oil, or mining for metals, will keep an area alive, but it can be disruptive and leaves an area worse off when it cools off.

Is there a way to create jobs that support the populations and markets in the cities without having people move there? Can the vibrant social mileu of cities connect to rural areas?

For now, even with growing connectivity and techniques for telecommuting there seems no replacing the value of real presence, pf people being in the same physical space. Apparently, for the bulk of economic and social activity, meatspace rules.

Is there an answer in easier/cheaper travel? Housing costs are very low in places with declining population. But the money, jobs, and good times are elsewhere.

I returned to Van Buren County at the end of 2017 after 20 years living on the East Coast, most recently in the Washington area, because I’m writing a book about Clinton, Van Buren’s county seat. My partner and I knew it would be a challenge: The county is very remote, very religious and full of Trump voters, and we suspected we’d stand out because of our political beliefs.

Since coming back, I’ve realized that it is true that people here think life here has taken a turn for the worse. What’s also true, though, is that many here seem determined to get rid of the last institutions trying to help them, to keep people with educations out, and to retreat from community life and concentrate on taking care of themselves and their own families. It’s an attitude that is against taxes, immigrants and government, but also against helping your neighbor.

Most Americans live in cities, but our political system gives rural areas like Van Buren outsize voting power. My time here makes me believe that the impeachment scandal will not hurt Mr. Trump — and that Democrats who promise to make the lives of people like my neighbors better might actually help him.


We aren’t getting rid of the Electoral College so just stop now. You aren’t going to convince anyone that cities should carry national elections.

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And they turnout religiously to vote too.


I’m interested in the larger question—jobs, income and property values are steadily declining in rural counties, while housing costs run away in the cities where the best jobs are.

For now I don’t see any change in this trend.

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I remember a 30 Rock episode where the main character wants to see the ‘real people’ and their simple ways.

Since the internet, I think lots of geographical regionalism has gone - but narrow mindedness and bigotry and a sullen anger against others remain and are amplified on internet sites. I live in a big town/rural area and the locals are no nicer or more ‘real’ than those who live in SF or Seattle.

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Those interested in this topic might like Enrico Moretti’s The New Geography of Jobs .

It mainly discusses the differences between the urban areas that are winners and those that are losers, but it is relevant to the rural-urban split of prosperity also. It is a bit depressing as the rich areas seem to get richer from a virtuous cycle of prosperity and the losers get poorer for the same reasons. I am putting in a link to a review of the book.

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Why do Americans feel it’s ok to weigh some votes more heavily than others? Would you like your neighbour, Cypriot, to have two votes to your one?

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Not all Americans feel that way. In fact, I’d say that the majority of Americans don’t feel that way. Just look at the popular vote numbers from 2016 - but that’s far off the topic at hand.

Make a more convincing argument that we should vote for your candidate with a sound cogent argument that is backed with logic and not emotions then maybe we would listen. Instead all we get is temper tantrums because people didn’t like the results of an election so lets promote unintelligible ideas that a fourth grader puts forth!

Isn’t that what we are getting now by not having a National voter ID and allowing dead people to remain on Democratic voter rolls? How about Illegals being allowed to vote in the national and local elections? You think that is fair too?

I hear more whining and its whining because lets face it, liberals are lazy and don’t want to work! What other explanation is there when the jobs report has the lowest unemployment in 50 years? There simply is no excuse! If you are unhappy about your economic situation, then do something about it instead of bitching and crying all the time! The winners in life are the ones who are willing to make sacrifices, such as moving to a place where there are jobs to change their status!

Liberals do NOT give hope! Liberals give defeat!!
“You can’t take care of yourself, the government has to do that for you!” is their mantra!”

We are born, we face hurdles, and we die!

There are two types of people.

The people who jump their hurdles. The people that cry in front of their hurdles.
The people who jump their hurdles get stronger and those who cry in front of them remain weak.
Liberals want to use government to remove all the hurdles.
THAT is not hope!!!

Hope is, “You can do anything you set your mind to and you don’t need government to take care of you!”

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Apparently, this guy doesn’t understand his neighbors.

Not everyone is looking for a handout. Not everyone believes the Government should take care of you.

He is right about one thing though. Living there will be a challenge for him and his “partner”.

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We probably do not recognize the decline that is also occurring in suburban America as well. The BLS data I track shows that the Civilian Non-Institutional Population has gone up this year by a mere 750k so far this year after rising by 2.7 million last year. Employment data shows that 1.3 million people have gained jobs per the household survey and of those 638k went to those 55 and older and 664k went to the 18-54 age group out of the entire country.

We’re simply running out of employable labor.

Here in metro Atlanta, job postings are everywhere, school bus drivers, daycare workers, fast food workers and of course trade services in construction where the labor is really right.

The neighborhood that is going in next to me has been in progress for going on 24 months and they just got the first two houses framed in. Of course that is great, framers are one thing, but try finding certified electricians, plumbers, AC folks, etc, there simply are not enough of them, it could be months before they can get those types of folks into those houses to do that kind of work.

Of course, even in construction, we are talking about jobs that pay ok but don’t come with health care or retirement benefits, paid time off or sick time, so who is going to go through the expense of obtaining those types of certifications when you get none of that and still find it hard to pay the bills and live on your own.

I wanted to find someone to do my yard work, took me three months, I needed tree work done, did not get a call back on the first 4 providers I contacted.

We can pass all the infrastructure bills we want, but we are going to have to import the labor to do the work.

The gas that is in the tank of our labor pool is down to 3.5% and there is no more gas that is arriving to refill that tank as we continue to see boomers retire and exit the workforce.

We recently had a new restaurant open up in the downtown area where I live and I hear that it is likely to close soon. The reason? Can’t find wait staff, cooks, dish washers, etc.

Imagine spending the money to start up a business only to have to close it later because you can’t staff it.

That is a fatal flaw in a service economy that relies on fairly low income labor to make those services cheap enough for the customers that desire those services. What happens when you run out of that labor?

The answer is not a good one by any means…

Are you saying that dead people are only allowed to remain on “Democratic” voter roles and it’s intentional? If so, please provide objective sources for this?

Clearly you have limed personal knowledge of flyover country.

I began looking for a new home 2 years ago from a cesspool city to a small city, 60K. Today that 60K is 72K.

I travel frequently by auto in the flyover region and visit many of the cities, small under 100K are thriving. Farming cities are thriving.

People in flyover country do not want what you have in the cesspool cities, crime, gangs, violence, illegals, fake ASSylum seekers and just want to be left alone.

Why are you so stupid?

We’re talking about what we should do; you’re talking about errors in existing systems.

Do yo want (capital letters just for you) YOUR NEIGHBOUR TO LEGALLY HAVE MORE VOTES?

I have now read two of your OPs. I can see why the liberal numbnuts like you. You speak their language…off kilter half truths and outright lies.

The urban areas keep the cities alive.

Have you ever heard the expression NO FARMS>>NO FOOD? Have you ever seen a sizeable farm of any sort within a big city?

Do you wear much 100% cotton clothing or use cotton towels and wash clothes? Have you ever seen cotton growing within a big city?

Are you aware that farming requires implements and tractors that cost hundreds of thousands of dollars? Have you ever driven a rural hiway through a number of small towns and NOT seen a tractor dealer (that employs salesmen, clerical staff, parts managers, repair personnel…), a car/truck dealer, welding shops, mechanic shops, barber shops, lawyer offices, drug stores, diners, service stations, schools, churches, construction companies, pharmacies, fire departments, small general aviation airports, paint stores, traffic lights, motels, real estate offices, hospitals, opticians, cafes, dry good stores, hardware stores, bars, etc., etc., ad infinitum?

Who do you think works at all these places…commuters from the big cities? :rofl: Who do you think maintains all the infrastructure?

These businesses exist to serve mostly the needs of the local people. A lot of small towns have furniture factories, cotton gins, oil mills, grain elevators, shipping companies…that provide serves for people all over the nation…and sometimes the world.

Did you know the little Belzoni Mississippi (population 2,235 in the 2010 census) is the Catfish Capital of the World?

Speaking of shipping companies, do you liberal proponents of big city life know that without truck drivers, you would have nothing in your home that you didn’t haul in by your own means?

Your posting of an anecdotal opinion piece by a NYT liberal is par for the course. The blind leading the blind.

Decades of corrupt liberal governments in large cities have literally ruined what once were great places to live and work. California is a beautiful state…with exception of the SHITHOLE big cities…created by rich liberals.

The Electoral College exists for a well considered reason…to keep that kind of mob rule shit from controlling the entire nation…forever.

Long live the EC!

Here are some numbers from the 2000 US Census. Note that in 1990, California had 92.6% of its nearly 30 million people living in urban areas. (Only Washington DC was higher with 100%) I doubt that percentage has changed significantly since then…yet California is has THE HIGHEST POVERTY RATE in the nation!



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The only one that is being stupid is you! You are completely missing the point! Also being vague in your original post only further proves you being intellectually dishonest about what you are trying to put forth as a cogent argument! Epic failure on your part! Next!

You can say what ever you want now! I chose not to waste my time with idiots like you! As you have already proven time and time again that having any meaningful discussion with you is a waste of time! Welcome to my ignore list!

It’s pretty sad.

The liberals come here spend garbage everywhere never respond to anything.

I suspect we should boycott all their posts and just leave the to their delusions.