Monday, July 23, 2018

Moody’s Offers Dim Outlook for Rural America

From the publication's "about" page:
...Route Fifty is a digital news publication from Atlantic Media’s Government Executive Media Group, which also publishes Government Executive magazine, GovExec, Nextgov and Defense One. Initially launched as’s State & Local channel in July 2014, Route Fifty and expanded to a standalone Government Executive Media Group digital publication,, in April 2015....
We followed them through the evolution and now mainly use them to catch smart-city and data center stories we might otherwise miss. This story is a bit different for them.

From Route Fifty:
Population declines, an aging workforce and sluggish job growth pose challenges.
Demographic and economic trends will pressure the finances of local governments in rural America in the coming years, a credit ratings agency said in a report issued Thursday.

Moody’s Investors Service notes that employment in rural areas is lagging, as the population contracts and the workforce grows older. Last year, total employment in rural counties was down 4.3 percent from 2007 levels, whereas in urban counties it was up 7.5 percent.

Of the country's roughly 2,000 rural counties, according to Moody’s, 69 percent had fewer people working in 2017 than in 2007.

“The fact that rural counties have fewer jobs today than 10 years ago indicates a diminished economic base from which local governments derive revenue, a credit trend that will continue to challenge much of rural America,” the report from the ratings agency says.

The uphill battle is steeper for rural areas that lack sizable oil and gas industries or tourism. And while agriculture jobs have expanded they remain a relatively small share of total employment.

People moving to cities and declining birth rates, the report notes, have contributed to an erosion of the country’s rural population by 0.5 percent between 2010 and 2017. During that same time period, the urban population in the U.S. grew by more than 6 percent.

Federal policies could further complicate the situation....MORE
As we've pointed out over the years, akin to having the interest rate/bond price teeter-totter engraved into your reptile brain, understanding that agricultural commodity prices are the base of the rural econ pyramid is a prerequisite to understanding the rural economy.

And as a side note, although I'm not sure that Route Fifty is named for U.S. highway 50 I like to think it is:
May 23, 2007
...Those two are probably harmless.

But there really are Black Helicopters!

I know because the week after the 9/11 mass murders I was driving from Tahoe to Ely NV on U.S. 50 "The Lonliest Road in America" for the Silver State Classic Challenge.

I saw only six vehicles in 400 miles and two of those were black helicopters. They passed me at a couple hundred feet and a couple hundred mph....
About the SSCC:
..The fastest road race in the world is the Silver State Classic Challenge held on Nevada's Route 318, in which the fastest cars can surpass speeds of 394 km/h (245 mph) over the 145-km (90-mile) course. The highest ever average speed in the race was 353.4811 km/h (219.6430 mph), by Robert Allyn (driver, USA) and David Bauer (navigator, USA) in a 2001 Monte Carlo NASCAR during the 2017 Nevada Open Road Challenge, on 21 May 2017.
Highly organized, with the full endorsement of local law enforcement, the race was first run in 1988, and is now held biannually in May and September.
The very high speeds in the race are made possible by the nature of the highway: it is largely straight and flat, with a series of technical corners posted at 72 km/h (45 mph) in an area called the “narrows”.
More than 200 amateur drivers from all over the world converge on the small town of Ely, Nevada ( the starting point of the race.
It used to be mainly Corvettes but now it seems they'll let anybody in.