WASHINGTON, D.C. — USDA recently provided this update on the state of rural America:

"We’ve seen important trend lines shift to demonstrate positive change in a few major indicators of economic recovery:

For the first time since the start of the Recession, rural populations have stabilized.

The total number of people living in rural counties remained essentially unchanged between July 2014 and July 2015, following several years of rural net migration that began with the housing-market crisis. This improvement in population change coincides with rural economic recovery and, if current trends continue, we will begin to see gradual population growth in rural and small-town America in the coming years.

The rural unemployment rate dropped below 6% for the first time since 2007. After reaching nearly 10% in 2010, rural unemployment has fallen to under 6% in 2015. Rural counties added over 125,000 jobs in both 2014 and 2015, after job losses averaging 200,000 per year during 2008–2013."