Don’t leave rural workers out of the employment renaissance

With its proposed food stamp work requirement rule, USDA has an opportunity to crack down on fraud and abuse while moving millions from welfare to work — but to fully leverage this opportunity, it needs to amend the proposed rule to make sure government treats rural areas fairly.

Under the proposed rule, states could use so-called “labor market areas” to determine whether a region has high-enough unemployment to qualify for a work requirement waiver, but this is problematic for multiple reasons.

The biggest? Labor market areas, by definition, isolate rural regions.