Across the nation – and in most of Washington – rural jobs are back.

The jobs recovery continues.

The Daily Yonder (that’s their map above) reports,

Both rural and urban America now have just about as many jobs as they did in January 2020, the month we first started hearing about Covid-19.

In January of this year, rural counties had about 99% of the jobs they had in January 2020. These places still need to add about a quarter of a million jobs to get back to pre-Covid levels, but that is a fraction of the 20 million jobs in rural America.

The cities are still 1.2 million jobs shy of January 2020 employment, but that is a decline of less than a percentage point from pre-Covid levels.

Click through to the story and the interactive map shows county-by-county data. Our reading of the map shows that among rural counties in Washington only Ferry County now has fewer jobs than in January 2020. Counties in metro Puget Sound region and Whatcom County, paralleling the national experience of cities, are still below pre-pandemic levels.

Writing for the Daily Yonder, Bill Bishop reports the nation is close, but not fully recovered when compared with January 2020. But…

If we shorten the time period to one year — comparing January 2021 to January 2022 – then every geographic category shows gains in employment. Most of those jobs, however, went to the urban areas of a million or more people. These mega-cities collected 71% of the jobs created in the last year.

That makes sense to us. The biggest pre-pandemic winners were mega-cities, many of which were sharply impacted by lockdown and other pandemic-related policies and concerns. So, as things eased up, we’d expect them to see strong initial gains.