Rural US communities can reap significant benefits from investments in the new climate economy, including measures to advance clean energy systems, remediate abandoned fossil fuel production sites, restore trees to the landscape and reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfire. Collectively, these measures can create new economic opportunities in rural places while addressing climate change. This working paper presents a detailed analysis of the rural economic impact from federal policies that invest in the new climate economy, including information about the geographic and sectoral distribution of those investments. This analysis finds that with a total annual federal investment of $55 billion, nearly $15 billion would flow to rural counties, supporting nearly 260,000 rural jobs over at least five years. This working paper also offers recommendation on policy vehicles to ensure that federal investment reaches rural areas and communities most in need.

Key Findings

  • The opportunities analyzed here would require $55 billion in annual federal investment nationwide for five years, of which nearly $15 billion per year would flow to rural counties. This rural investment could support nearly 260,000 rural jobs that would last for five years (a total of 1.3 million job-years) across the country if complementary measures are adopted to ensure that a minimum share of funding reaches rural counties. It would also generate $21.7 billion per year in overall value added to rural economies, including $12.9 billion in rural employee compensation and $1.6 billion in local, state, and federal tax revenue.
  • Every $1 million invested through the new climate economy pathways included in this analysis would generate 17.5 jobs and $1.5 million in value added in rural economies.
  • These federal rural investments would directly benefit economically disadvantaged rural areas, which would see 45 percent of all jobs created in rural counties. Federal investments must specifically prioritize equity in distribution to ensure that these benefits reach rural communities in need.