New report from Joint Economic Committee Democrats offers ideas to help communities thrive
Wind turbines in eastern West Virginia. Wind turbine service technicians will be in heavy demand in rural areas, as the occupation is project to rank among the fastest-growing in the country over the next 10 years, Heinrich writes. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)
Rural communities hold a special place in my heart. Not only because so many of the New Mexicans I represent live in rural areas, but also because I was raised in rural America. I know firsthand what it’s like to grow up in a small town, seeing both of my parents work long hours just to make ends meet and to provide a better future for my sisters and me.
A decade after the Great Recession, the overall economic picture for rural communities remains challenging. Not only are residents growing older, but two-thirds of rural counties lost population between 2010 and 2016. New job opportunities have lagged behind those in urban areas, and rural employment remains below pre-recession levels. Even when you have a job in rural America, too often your wages aren’t growing as fast as those in other places.