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This paper explores the dynamics of rural and non-rural job growth to investigate if job growth starts in rural places, making it one of the leading indicators of economic growth. Empirical results provide mixed evidence. The mixed results of the Granger non-causality tests could be sensitive to the non-rural area definition. The relationship between rural job growth and non-rural job growth is not restricted to post-recession periods. Analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics data suggests the spillover effects of non-rural growth are larger than the spillover effect of rural growth on non-rural areas. But this positive response of rural growth disappears over time and turns sharply negative. In the long run, "backwash" effects outweigh "spread" effects.


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