E Trump Cannot Easily Fix Rural America: Here's Why

Donald Trump campaigned on being able to give hope to rural America. But his task is monumental. I grew up in rural America, in the oil patch. As fields diminish production, the rural industry impacts the areas for years. Oil was a lucrative business for small towns in central California, but in Coalinga, California, the fields are facing depletion. 

The petroleum industry was declining in Coalinga when oil prices were high. Now they are in decline as prices have declined. Coalinga had options, and prisons and a mental health hospital keep the town going. However, in other towns, such as those involved in logging, towns in Northern California, Oregon and Washington, there were few options for replacing the logging industry that moved offshore. 

Google Map Screenshot Shows County Unemployment Above National Average in Red

And of course, that is the problem with much of rural America, the main industry is irreplaceable. As we see in the screenshot of a Google Map, above average unemployment has engulfed the rural South. And in Pennsylvania, and Michigan we see just a few areas that traditionally go Democratic but have lost rural employment at above average rates. Hillary's people should have taken a good hard look at this unemployment map! 

Tim Duy is an independent economist. He has written a sobering blog post regarding these rural areas in America. Tim said this: 

"Trump is speaking to all of these workers, not just the trade-impacted workers. And you can complain that they don’t matter, they aren’t high-skilled workers, that the economy is shifting away to urban areas, that they should just move. In the rural Oregon case, you can add in that the big (and labor-intensive) trees were almost gone anyway, that technology was taking over at the logging site and at the mill, that falling transportation costs meant you didn’t need to mill locally.

None of that works because all you are doing is telling people they have no value relative to the lives they knew.

We don’t have answers for these communities. Rural and semi-rural economic development is hard. Those regions have received only negative shocks for decades; the positive shocks have accrued to the urban regions. Of course, Trump doesn’t have any answers either. But he at least pretends to care."

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Disclosure: I am not an investment counselor nor am I an attorney so my views are not to be considered investment advice.

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