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September/October 2012

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Research Profiles Pennsylvania Unemployed
While the number of unemployed persons in rural Pennsylvania counties fell from 2003 to 2007, that number increased 24 percent from 2007 to 2008, when the most recent recession was in full swing, according to research sponsored by the Center for Rural Pennsylvania. The number of rural unemployed persons increased 50 percent in 2009 from the year before, and 3 percent from 2009 to 2010. 

To develop a profile of the unemployed in rural Pennsylvania during the most recent recession, Dr. Simon Condliffe of West Chester University of Pennsylvania, analyzed unemployment data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry’s Center for Workforce Information and Analysis (CWIA) from 2003 to 2010.

The research used labor force data from BLS to examine the pattern of unemployment in rural and urban counties and industry data to investigate the industries that had been impacted by the recession. The research also used unemployment compensation claims and payment data from CWIA to build a profile of the unemployed by demographic characteristics and to measure trends in unemployment claims.

Statewide unemployment
According to the National Bureau of Economic Research, the most recent recession began in December 2007 and ended in June 2009.

In March 2010, nine months after the official end of the recession, there were 549,661 unemployed persons in Pennsylvania, according to BLS data. This was the highest count of the unemployed in 27 years.

According to CWIA data, in 2010, more than 171,000 people were without work for more than 26 weeks, which is the duration of standard state unemployment benefits.

Of the Pennsylvanians unemployed in 2009, approximately half had no previous unemployment claims from 2001 to 2007, which indicated that the ranks of the unemployed not only grew, but included more groups previously unaffected by job loss.

Rural unemployment
The analysis of BLS data found that the number of unemployed persons in rural counties fell from 2003 to 2007, but increased 24 percent in 2008, 50 percent in 2009 and 3 percent in 2010.
Historically, the unemployment rate is higher in rural counties than urban counties. This pattern was consistent over the study period.

BLS data also provided evidence that the recession had broad-based impacts for industries in rural counties. Consistent with other recessions, manufacturing suffered. However, this recession also impacted other industries including construction, financial activities, information, leisure and hospitality, trade/transportation and utilities, and other services. Education and health services, and natural resources and mining were the sole bright spots as both added establishments during the recession.

According to the data, the closure of rural industry establishments brought corresponding job losses. Manufacturing posted the most significant job losses among rural counties (approximately 37,000). However, thousands of jobs were lost in the following rural industries: construction, financial activities, information, other services, and trade/transportation and utilities. This attests to the broad impacts of the economic downturn.

Compared to their urban counterparts, rural unemployment compensation (UC) payment recipients were more likely to be older, male, and white (non-Hispanic), and to have worked in manufacturing.

An examination of UC payments by industry provided evidence of the widespread impacts of the economic downturn. Comparing Decembers in 2007, 2008, 2009, and 2010, the share of UC payments among many rural industries was largely unchanged, suggesting that many were impacted to similar degrees. The share among the manufacturing industry declined somewhat in 2010, as shares among other industries, particularly construction, increased.

The research found the age distribution of UC payment recipients changed little over the study period – again providing evidence that rather than one group being disproportionately impacted, all age groups were similarly affected.

While the number of unemployed persons in rural Pennsylvania counties fell from 2003 to 2007, that number increased 24 percent from 2007 to 2008, when the most recent recession was in full swing, according to research sponsored by the Center for Rural Pennsylvania. The number of rural unemployed persons increased 50 percent in 2009 from the year before, and 3 percent from 2009 to 2010. 

To develop a profile of the unemployed in rural Pennsylvania during the most recent recession, Dr. Simon Condliffe of West Chester University of Pennsylvania, analyzed unemployment data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry’s Center for Workforce Information and Analysis (CWIA) from 2003 to 2010.

The research used labor force data from BLS to examine the pattern of unemployment in rural and urban counties and industry data to investigate the industries that had been impacted by the recession. The research also used unemployment compensation claims and payment data from CWIA to build a profile of the unemployed by demographic characteristics and to measure trends in unemployment claims.

Statewide unemployment
According to the National Bureau of Economic Research, the most recent recession began in December 2007 and ended in June 2009.

In March 2010, nine months after the official end of the recession, there were 549,661 unemployed persons in Pennsylvania, according to BLS data. This was the highest count of the unemployed in 27 years.

According to CWIA data, in 2010, more than 171,000 people were without work for more than 26 weeks, which is the duration of standard state unemployment benefits.

Of the Pennsylvanians unemployed in 2009, approximately half had no previous unemployment claims from 2001 to 2007, which indicated that the ranks of the unemployed not only grew, but included more groups previously unaffected by job loss.

Rural unemployment
The analysis of BLS data found that the number of unemployed persons in rural counties fell from 2003 to 2007, but increased 24 percent in 2008, 50 percent in 2009 and 3 percent in 2010.

Historically, the unemployment rate is higher in rural counties than urban counties. This pattern was consistent over the study period.

BLS data also provided evidence that the recession had broad-based impacts for industries in rural counties. Consistent with other recessions, manufacturing suffered. However, this recession also impacted other industries including construction, financial activities, information, leisure and hospitality, trade/transportation and utilities, and other services. Education and health services, and natural resources and mining were the sole bright spots as both added establishments during the recession.

According to the data, the closure of rural industry establishments brought corresponding job losses. Manufacturing posted the most significant job losses among rural counties (approximately 37,000). However, thousands of jobs were lost in the following rural industries: construction, financial activities, information, other services, and trade/transportation and utilities. This attests to the broad impacts of the economic downturn.

Compared to their urban counterparts, rural unemployment compensation (UC) payment recipients were more likely to be older, male, and white (non-Hispanic), and to have worked in manufacturing.

An examination of UC payments by industry provided evidence of the widespread impacts of the economic downturn. Comparing Decembers in 2007, 2008, 2009, and 2010, the share of UC payments among many rural industries was largely unchanged, suggesting that many were impacted to similar degrees. The share among the manufacturing industry declined somewhat in 2010, as shares among other industries, particularly construction, increased.

The research found the age distribution of UC payment recipients changed little over the study period – again providing evidence that rather than one group being disproportionately impacted, all age groups were similarly affected.

Report available
For a copy of the research results, Unemployment in Pennsylvania, 2003-2010, call or email the Center at (717) 787-9555 or info@rural.palegislature.us or visit www.rural.palegislature.us.

Rural and Urban Unemployment, 2003-2010
Rural and Urban Unemployment, 2003-2010
Source: BLS.

Unemployment Rate in Rural and Urban Pennsylvania Counties and the U.S., 2003-2010
Unemployment Rate in Rural and Urban Pennsylvania Counties and the U.S., 2003-2010
Source: BLS.

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Chairman’s Message
This year, the Center for Rural Pennsylvania observes 25 years of service to the Pennsylvania General Assembly and rural Pennsylvania residents and communities.

On behalf of the Center’s board and staff, I thank members of the Pennsylvania Senate and House of Representatives, past and present, for supporting the Center’s work and accomplishments. To the many government agencies, academic institutions, state associations, community-based organizations and individuals who have collaborated with the Center in its policy research and database development work, I also extend a sincere thank you.

Thanks also to the board members and officers who preceded me and to those with whom I currently serve, as your commitment to the Center and its mission have been a significant factor in the Center’s ability to develop a quality reputation that is nationally recognized.

Many may not know that the work of the Center has been a contributing factor in: the establishment of the Area Health Education Centers (AHEC) network, which works to improve the supply and distribution of health care professionals in Pennsylvania; legislation for Community and Higher Education Councils to provide post-secondary education and workforce development programs in more than eight rural counties; the formal establishment of the Main Street and Elm Street programs; the development of the Route 6 Tourism Alliance; and the creation of Pennsylvania FarmLink, to name a few.

With the financial support of the General Assembly, the Center remains committed to helping rural Pennsylvania maximize opportunities for sustained community and economic development.

Over the years, the Center has become a single source for rural data. Staff has developed the most comprehensive database of Pennsylvania. While our focus is on Pennsylvania’s 48 rural counties, data is available for all 67 counties and 2,561 municipalities.

For more than two decades, the Center board and staff have worked to inform the Pennsylvania General Assembly, as it deliberates public policy, about the challenges and opportunities facing rural Pennsylvania. Center staff regularly travel statewide meeting with community leaders and citizens to provide them with information and research as they make decisions to manage and direct change in their hometowns.

There will be no special fanfare to commemorate the past 25 years. Rather, the Center board and staff will continue to conduct business as usual, working with the same commitment and resolve that was evident when the Rural Revitalization Act of 1987 was passed to create the Center for Rural Pennsylvania. Our research work with the dedicated faculty and administrators of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education universities, Pennsylvania State University, and University of Pittsburgh regional campuses will continue, focusing on maximizing resources and strategies that best serve our entire commonwealth and its 3.4 million rural residents.

Senator Gene Yaw

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Rural Snapshot: Unemployed Adults
In 2010, an estimated 161,825 rural Pennsylvania adults were unemployed and looking for work, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2010 American Community Survey Public Use Microdata Sample (ACS-PUMS). In urban areas, there were 363,722 unemployed adults looking for work. 

For a closer look at Pennsylvania adults who were unemployed and looking for work, the Center for Rural Pennsylvania analyzed the 2010 ACS-PUMS data. The analysis included adults (18 years old and older) who indicated to the Census Bureau that they were unemployed and actively looking for work. For the analysis, these individuals are called “unemployed.” Excluded from the analysis were people living in institutionalized group quarters, such as prisons or nursing homes.

Demographic Characteristics
There was a sizable gender gap among the rural unemployed. In 2010, 59 percent of the rural unemployed were male and 41 percent were female.  Among the urban unemployed, 55 percent were male and 45 percent were female.

There was a slight but statistically significant difference in the average age of both rural and urban unemployed persons. Among the rural unemployed, the average age was 37.8, while the average age among urban unemployed persons was 38.2. In rural areas, 27 percent of the unemployed were young adults (18 to 24 year olds) compared to 24 percent in urban areas.

The same percentage (34 percent) of rural and urban unemployed persons was married. About 2 percent of both groups were widowed. There were, however, significant differences in the percentage of rural and urban unemployed persons who were divorced or separated and those who were never married. Eighteen percent of the rural unemployed were divorced or separated and 46 percent were never married while 13 percent of the urban unemployed were divorced or separated and 50 percent were never married.

Households
In 2010, approximately 8 percent of rural households had one or more unemployed persons. In urban areas, 10 percent of households had one or more unemployed persons. The average rural household with an unemployed person had, on average, 3.0 people living in the household. In comparison, rural households with no unemployed persons had an average 2.3 persons in the household.

Among urban households with an unemployed person, there were, on average, 3.1 people living in the household. Urban households without an unemployed person had, on average, 2.3 persons. Forty-two percent of rural households with an unemployed person had children under 18 years old living in their home and 58 percent did not. Among urban households with an unemployed person, 45 percent had children and 55 percent did not.

Sixty-seven percent of rural households with unemployed persons had at least one other household member who was employed and 33 percent of households had no other person employed. In urban areas, 63 percent of households with unemployed person(s) contained other household members who were employed; 37 percent had no household members who were employed.

Health Insurance and Disability
Forty-three percent of the rural unemployed did not have health insurance and 57 percent did have health insurance. Among the urban unemployed, 39 percent were uninsured and 61 percent insured. 

Thirteen percent of the rural unemployed had a disability and 87 percent did not. Among the urban unemployed, 10 percent had a disability and 90 percent did not.

Educational Attainment
The rural unemployed generally had lower levels of educational attainment than the urban unemployed. According to the data, 20 percent of rural unemployed and 26 percent of urban unemployed persons had an associate’s degree or higher. 

In addition, 23 percent of the rural unemployed had some college, but no degree compared to 20 percent of the urban unemployed. Forty-six percent of the rural unemployed had a high school diploma or GED only compared to 40 percent of the urban unemployed.  Finally, 11 percent of the rural unemployed had no high school diploma compared to 14 percent of the urban unemployed.

Among the rural unemployed, 16 percent were enrolled in school within the past three months compared to 15 percent of the urban unemployed.

Income and Poverty
Among the rural unemployed, the median personal income was $8,464, or approximately $200 higher than the urban median of $8,262. 

Rural households with one or more unemployed persons, however, had lower total median incomes than similar urban households. Among rural households with one or more unemployed persons, the median income was $40,305 while the urban median was $42,824.

Twenty-five percent of the rural unemployed lived in poverty compared to 26 percent of the urban unemployed.

Among both rural and urban households with one or more unemployed persons, 25 percent received SNAP (Food Stamp) assistance in 2010.

Prior Employment
When asked when they had last worked, 54 percent of the rural unemployed and 48 percent of the urban unemployed said they worked within the last 12 months: 38 percent of the rural unemployed and 39 percent of the urban unemployed said they worked within the past one to five years; and 9 percent of the rural unemployed and 13 percent of the urban unemployed said they had not worked within the past 5 years or that they had never worked.

Among those rural unemployed who had worked within the past 12 months, 83 percent worked for a for-profit company, 4 percent worked for a nonprofit organization, 6 percent worked for a government agency, and 7 percent were self-employed. Among the urban unemployed that had worked within the past 12 months, 80 percent worked for a for-profit company, 7 percent worked for a nonprofit organization, 7 percent worked for a government agency, and 5 percent were self-employed.

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Peaks and Valleys of PA Voter Turnout
More than 2.75 million rural Pennsylvanians will be of voting age for the general election in November 2012. However, if history is any guide, the number of votes actually cast in rural Pennsylvania will be about 1.27 million, or 50 percent of the voting age population.

According to data from the U.S. Census Bureau, over the past eight presidential general elections (1980 to 2008), voter turnout, as measured by the number of votes cast for president divided by the number of those age 18 years old and older, has averaged about 50 percent in rural counties and 56 percent in urban counties. 
These averages, however, mask some of the peaks and valleys in voter turnout. Peak turnout elections were in November 2004 and November 2008 in rural and urban counties. During these two elections, 55 percent of the rural voting age population and more than 62 percent of the urban voting age population cast their ballots for president.

The 1988 and 1996 November elections were low points for rural and urban voters. During these two elections, less than 47 percent of the rural voting age population and less than 52 percent of the urban voting age population voted.

For the past eight presidential general elections, the highest voter turnouts were in Delaware and Sullivan counties. In each of these counties, more than 62 percent of the voting age population voted. The counties with the lowest average voting rates were Mifflin and Union counties, each with an average voter participation rate of less than 43 percent.

Census Bureau data show that, nationwide, an average of 53 percent of the voting age population voted in the last eight presidential general elections. Turnout in America’s rural counties was slightly higher than in its urban counties (54 percent and 53 percent, respectively). Because of data reporting gaps, however, Alaskan counties were excluded from these averages.

Compared to other states, Pennsylvania has the 29th highest voter turnout rate. During the last eight presidential general elections, an average of 54 percent of the voting age population voted. The three states with the highest voter turnout rates were Maine, Minnesota and Wisconsin, each with a rate of more than 65 percent. The three states with the lowest rates were Hawaii, Nevada and Texas, each with a voter turnout rate of less than 46 percent.

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Did You Know...

Data source: U.S. Center for Educational Statistics.

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Analysis of Sexual Assault Data
According to data collected by the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape (PCAR), from 2009 to 2011, more than 18,200 survivors of sexual assaults sought services at rural rape crisis centers. An analysis of PCAR data conducted by the Center for Rural Pennsylvania found that most rural survivors who sought services at the centers were female and that many knew their abuser. The analysis also indicated that, in rural counties, there were no significant correlations between the total number of persons who sought sexual assault services per 100,000 residents and selected socio-economic indicators, such as household characteristics, income, education, unemployment, and crime rates.

Methods
PCAR, which provides services to survivors of sexual violence and their significant others through a statewide network of 50 rape crisis centers, collects data in a “Survivor Profile” database. The Center for Rural Pennsylvania obtained this data for 2008-2009, 2009-2010, and 2010-2011 for the analysis. The Center combined the 3 years of data into one dataset, and, in the findings, reports the number of survivors and their characteristics as a total for the 3 years (2009-11). It also used Census Bureau population, age and gender estimates from 2008 and 2009, and population counts from the 2010 Census.

The analysis did not look at individuals and does not reflect the socio-economic status of individual survivors.

The data analyzed also represent only those survivors who sought services at rape crisis centers between 2009-11. They do not represent all sexual assaults, since that number is unknown. In addition, some survivors may not seek help until years after the incident. The demographic data collected by the rape crisis centers reflects the survivors’ characteristics when they received services, not necessarily when the assault took place.

In the findings below, the term “sexual assault” is used as an umbrella term to represent all incidents in the database, including rape, incest, child sexual assault, ritual abuse, date and acquaintance rape, statutory rape, marital or partner rape, sexual exploitation, sexual contact, sexual harassment, exposure, human trafficking and voyeurism. 

Survivor Characteristics
Number of Survivors
From 2009-11, a total of 18,207 survivors, or 176 survivors per 100,000 residents, sought services at rural rape crises centers. During the same period, there were 42,369 urban survivors, or 154 survivors per 100,000 residents, who sought such services. Per capita, there was no significant difference between the number of rural and urban survivors seeking services.

Gender, Age and Race
Among rural survivors who sought services, 89 percent were female, 10 percent were male, and for 1 percent of the survivors the gender was unknown. Sixty-two percent of rural survivors who sought services were adults and 38 percent were children. Eighty-two percent of rural survivors who sought services were white and 18 percent were non-white. The percentage of non-whites that sought sexual assault services was higher than the percentage of non-whites in the total rural population (approximately 6 percent, according to the 2010 Census).

Types of Assaults
From 2009-11, the three most common types of reported sexual assaults for rural children were sexual child abuse (36 percent), sexual assault (23 percent), and indecent assault (20 percent). For rural adults, the two most reported types of violations were sexual assault (43 percent) and rape (33 percent).

Abuser
In rural areas, the most frequently reported abusers of children and adults were persons who were known to the survivor, such as family members/relatives, friends/acquaintances or spouses/lovers.

Correlations
In rural counties, there were no significant correlations between the total number of persons who sought sexual assault services per 100,000 residents and selected socio-economic indicators including household characteristics, income, education, unemployment, poverty rates, number of police officers and crime rates. 

The lack of significant correlations suggests that, at the county level, the number of persons seeking services in a county is unlikely to have any relationship to larger community factors such as the number of police officers, unemployment rates or poverty rates.

Fact sheet available
For the complete fact sheet, Analysis of Sexual Assault Data, call or email the Center for Rural Pennsylvania at (717) 787-9555 or info@rural.palegislature.us or visit www.rural.palegislature.us.

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Just the Facts: Baby Boomers
Baby boomers are coming back to rural Pennsylvania. According to Census Bureau data from 2000 to 2010, the number of boomers living in rural Pennsylvania counties increased 0.4 percent. Although this is a small change, it’s a stark contrast to the 4 percent decline in boomers in urban counties over the same time period. 

A baby boomer is anyone born between 1946 and 1964. In 2010, boomers were 46 to 64 years old. 

The increase in rural Pennsylvania boomers was part of a larger trend across rural America. Throughout rural areas of the U.S., there was a 2 percent increase in boomers from 2000 to 2010. In urban areas of the U.S., there was a 3 percent decline during this period. 

Across the U.S., rural counties that had the largest increases in boomers from 2000 to 2010 were classified by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service as “recreational dependent” and “retirement destination” counties.

Recreational-dependent counties are counties with high wage and salary employment in entertainment, recreation, accommodation, and eating and drinking places as well as a high percentage of housing units intended for seasonal or recreational uses. These counties had high per capita revenue receipts from motels and hotels. From 2000 to 2010, these U.S. counties had a 12 percent increase in boomers.

Retirement destination counties are counties where the number of residents 60 years old and older grew by 15 percent. From 2000 to 2010, these U.S. counties had a 19 percent increase in boomers.

In Pennsylvania, six counties had increases of more than 11 percent in boomers from 2000 to 2010. They were Carbon, Forest, Monroe, Pike, Sullivan, and Wayne. The counties with the largest declines were Allegheny, Greene, McKean, and Philadelphia, each with declines of more than 7 percent.

Profile of Rural Pennsylvania Baby Boomers

 

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