We are the Rural Jobs Coalition (RJC), a nonpartisan organization formed for small businesses by small businesses to highlight to lawmakers the message that the rural economy matters. With no one better to tell our story, we are the voice of rural America and its entrepreneurs.
The research is clear: A growing disparity exists between rural and urban areas. The passage of the federal Dodd-Frank legislation and the 2008 financial crisis have hindered community banks, leaving many small businesses in rural areas without access to needed growth capital. Since 2011, metro employment has rebounded, while rural employment continues at near-recessionary levels.
Furthering this gap, rural policy in America today follows a largely one-size-fits-all approach, in which lawmakers unknowingly often poorly modify urban policy to fit nonurban settings, putting rural communities at risk of no longer being viable – economically, socially or politically.
RJC seeks to reverse this trend by stressing to lawmakers that this inability of rural small businesses to access the capital they need not only threatens the survival of rural communities and the middle class, but also impedes small business growth, economic expansion and job creation. This situation only concentrates rural poverty.
Policymakers have an immediate opportunity to encourage capital formation in rural communities before their core employers – small businesses – leave, taking ideas and jobs with them. America’s future depends upon a vibrant, diverse economy throughout the entire country.
Together, we can say: Rural America matters!