Is COVID-19 Hitting Rural Employment harder?

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from the Rural Ontario Institute

Early data suggest the reverse. According to statistician Ray D. Bollman, the percent decline in urban employment from February to March 2020 was about double the percent decline in rural employment. Caution is advised in reading too much into this one set of results, since month-to-month data from the Labour Force Survey (LFS) includes variability because it is a sample and there is also variability from month to month due to the seasonality of jobs.

Forthcoming data related to the March to April changes will be more meaningful and help further assess whether COVID-19 related lower rural declines in employment remain the case. We know that rural employment is more concentrated in goods production sectors than is the urban economy and such sectors may have been more likely to be deemed essential. Dr. Bollman will continue to monitor and report on the LFS during the COVID-19 era.

Ray D. Bollman is the author of the Focus on Rural Ontario fact sheet series for ROI and a Research Associate with the Rural Development Institute at Brandon University and Professional Associate with the Leslie Harris Centre of Regional Policy and Development at Memorial University.

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