The Recession And Living In A Small Town.

Have you seen the effects of this recession in your town? Are people you know getting laid off left and right? If you are like most people, you live in or near a big city and are feeling the pinch of this economic downturn. I hear from my friends in Los Angeles and my family back in Boston about all the layoffs and long lines at job fairs that dominate the news every day, and even my own brother has been without a job since January. Seems most every town or city that plays a roll in the bigger economy at large is seeing extremely negative effects of the downturn. However, that’s not really the case here where I live, and I think I know why.

See, while the county that I live in is nearly the size of the state of Connecticut, we don’t have any major factories/businesses/headquarters. The closest thing we have to a major employer within 70 miles of here is a molybdenum mine, which laid off a sizable chunk of their employees earlier this year. But other than that, most every business here in town caters to just us, the residents. The restaurants both employ and feed us, the tourist shops always have some customers (fewer than normal, but we always have tourists coming through), and the “major” employers, such as the town newspaper, the town government, the one big-box store, etc. have not seen cuts at all. This is mainly because we do not provide goods and services outside of our own area. Since we are separated from major towns by many, many miles, our community tends to take care of itself. We cannot have major layoffs because we literally do not have enough companies here, if that makes sense. There are no “extra” jobs that can be cut – almost everybody who has a job in town is needed and necessary. I read stories about companies laying of 20,000 people and I wonder “Well, why did they have them to begin with, if they can exist without them?” My town is kind of like that company after the cuts – we are already streamlined. And because most jobs here serve only our own community, we don’t really feel the effects of the recession. In a lot of ways, it is quite nice to be insulated against some of the troubles that the world at large is experiencing. Jobs like mine do take a little bit of a hit, but because my expenses and overhead is so little here, and we have emergency funds in place, we can easily weather any storm that comes our way. My wife may not make much, being a teacher, but her job in a small community like this is very valuable and is not going anywhere. Meanwhile, thousands of teachers are being cut in places like Arizona and California, where most everyone is feeling the effects.

While we may not have the amenities that many other places have, we do have a pretty solid economy here in our small town. People here are still shopping, eating out, and going to work in the morning. We don’t have long lines at unemployment seminars, crime has not increased, and the businesses that do exist are still opening up every day. There are advantages to living in a small community sometimes, and this is definitely one of those advantages. With no major corporations to support, our small town seems to be doing pretty well. Which brings me to you guys – what are you seeing out there where you are living? Are you noticing in a difference in your town/city/rural area? Are thousands showing up for job fairs, or are there any going on at all? My brother who lives outside Boston has been out of work for 4 months, as I mentioned earlier. I don’t think anyone here has been out of work that long. What’s happening in your neck of the woods?

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Comments (3)

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  1. Miranda says:

    We live in a smaller area as well. We do have some factory type jobs, but they seem to be holding up. Indeed, our metro area (which encompasses about 100,000 in a valley that straddles two states) has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country. It’s a good place to be right now…

  2. Enrique S says:

    I find that the larger things get, like cities or businesses, the more impersonal they become. In your community, it seems each member is a valued piece of the whole. Sounds like a nice place to live.

  3. marci says:

    I see mostly the same thing – small county pop. 20,000… and this town pop. 4000. With one exception – the lumber mills in town are reducing shifts to one day shift only due to the lack of demand for finished lumber. That has cost some jobs.

    The rest seem to be business as usual – some belt tightening ‘just in case’ and because the media is saying how bad things are. I know our state has the highest unemployment in the nation at 12.4 % right now (or so I read), but our county is “only” at 8.5 % and the usual here year round is 5% – so we haven’t increased that much.

    The farmers are all farming – but the price of milk to the farmer has dropped 30% – but you sure don’t see that at the grocery store… so things are more than tight, but people are still working.

    And – most of us here can ‘get by’ on very little. Clams, fish, game abound, and gardens grow very well here. One thing I have REALLY noticed tho is front yard veggie gardens even in town on the city lots! Lots of them this year – there are about 6 in my neighborhood now, where last year there was only myself and one other – so that’s quite an increase in front yard gardens.