Times of crisis often exacerbate the economic challenges faced by rural communities. Following the Great Recession, for example, unemployment in rural areas rose by 6 percent, and rates of reemployment continue to lag those of urban communities. Without targeted intervention, factors including prolonged social distancing, lower labor force participation, and a lack of reliable internet, are likely to have long-term economic impacts. Outlined below are several actions that state workforce and economic development leaders can consider to mitigate the long-term effects of COVID-19 on rural America, including strategies to assess economic impact, reduce the rural broadband gap, leverage partnerships to stabilize anchor institutions and meet the unique needs of Tribal communities. The memo also summarizes federal resources available to aid rural communities with economic impact mitigation and recovery.
All NGA COVID-19 memos can be found here, or visit COVID-19: What You Need To Know for current information on actions States/Territories are taking to address the COVID-19 pandemic; as well as advocacy, policy, and guidance documents for protecting public health and the economy.