Friday, July 19, 2013

What's Wrong with the Rural South?

That's what the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta is trying to figure out. Of the 164 rural counties under the Atlanta Fed's purview, 136 are in a state of "persistent poverty." With factory work all but gone, any spark that could ignite these economies is promptly smothered by the boots of southern politics. What is needed, says the report, is an investment in infrastructure—including intellectual infrastructure, formal networks of support for entrepreneurs, and innovative financial tools such as microlending.

"Is it worth it?" is the ultimate question asked by the report. To help solve the problems of the rural South, "why not simply give people incentives to move to places where jobs are more plentiful?" One community development leader described the dire situation this way: "You're almost doing triage, trying to stop the bleeding as far as losing companies, and companies downsizing or closing altogether."

Source: Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, Wanted: Jobs 2.0 in the Rural Southeast

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