Publications

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  • "Digital Divide" Not to Blame for Rural Earnings Shortfall

    Amber Waves, April 01, 2003

    Workers who use computers on the job generally receive higher wages, suggesting that some workers without computer skills or access to computer technology may be disadvantaged. On-the-job computer use is less common in nonmetropolitan (nonmetro) areas than in metro areas, and wages for nonmetro, or rural, workers are generally lower. But does lower computer use explain the metro-nonmetro wage gap?

  • Arts Employment Is Burgeoning in Some Rural Areas

    Amber Waves, November 01, 2007

    Between 1990 and 2000, all of the growth in U.S. arts employment share was due to gains in the nonmetro share, although the growth was concentrated in select counties.

  • Bank Market Structure and Local Employment Growth

    TB-1900, May 07, 2002

    Bank Market Structure and Local Employment Growth examines the relationship between measures of local bank market structure (such as the level of geographic regulation, market concentration, nonlocal bank ownership, nonlocal control of local bank deposits, and bank market concentration) and job growth is using both longrun and shortrun empirical models. Although our shortrun model provides evidence of a robust relationship between local employment growth and geographic deregulation of bank activity in the United States, overall we found only weak evidence in support of an employment growth channel linking bank structure to subsequent economic growth.

  • College Completion Rates Rise But Nonmetro Areas Continue To Lag

    Amber Waves, April 01, 2008

    College graduates earn much more than those without a college education, and college graduates are more prevalent in metro than nonmetro areas, which contributes to higher earning levels in metro locales. Recent data from the Current Population Survey show that the metro advantage in college completion rates is growing over time. Between 1996 and 2006, the proportion of prime working-age (25-59) adults who had completed college rose by roughly 14 percent in both metro and nonmetro areas. However, because the college completion rate is higher in metro areas, the absolute size of the metro-nonmetro gap in college completion rates rose over the 10-year period.

  • Creating Rural Wealth: A New Lens for Rural Development Efforts

    Amber Waves, September 20, 2012

    Rural development efforts that create and maintain a broad portfolio of wealth may be central to sustainable rural prosperity.

  • ERS Innovates as It Expands Distance Learning Ventures With Minority-Serving Institutions

    Amber Waves, September 01, 2010

    In 2007, ERS launched a distance learning initiative as part of an ongoing commitment to student outreach and the development of a more diverse community of agricultural economists within USDA. The initiative links ERS with students at minority-serving universities by providing teaching and discussions relevant to both ERS research and the students’ curricula.

  • Economic Recovery: Lessons Learned From Previous Recessions

    Amber Waves, March 01, 2010

    The rates of employment loss and unemployment in the recent recession are about the same in metro and nonmetro areas, but based on previous recessions, nonmetro employment may recover more slowly. As in past recessions, manufacturing-dependent nonmetro counties felt the effects of the recessions sooner than other nonmetro areas. Unemployment rates continue to be lowest for the college-educated in both nonmetro and metro areas.

  • Education as a Rural Development Strategy

    Amber Waves, November 01, 2005

    Good schools and a well-educated labor force benefit both workers and their communities. But rural areas often face special challenges in their efforts to raise school quality and educational attainment.

  • Effects of Large-Scale Hog Production on Local Labor Markets

    Amber Waves, August 05, 2013

    For counties with large-scale hog operations, the average change in the number of hogs at these operations over each 5-year-period between 1992 and 2007 was 8,473. Each additional 1,000 hogs at large-scale hog facilities in a county generated 0.96 net jobs in the county, with gains in some sectors and losses in others.

  • Emerging Energy Industries and Rural Growth

    ERR-159, November 21, 2013

    Production of wind power, corn-based ethanol, and unconventionally extracted natural gas more than doubled overall from 2000 to 2010. ERS looks at the contribution these emerging-energy industries have made to local economies.

  • Employment Spillover Effects of Rural Inpatient Healthcare Facilities

    ERR-241, December 20, 2017

    From 2001 to 2015, inpatient healthcare facilities experienced modest employment gains in rural counties despite the effects of the Great Recession. However, rural healthcare jobs do not have strong spillover effects on jobs in other sectors.

  • Energy Development’s Impacts on Rural Employment Growth

    Amber Waves, December 16, 2013

    Research indicates that the expansion of emerging energy industries—such as shale gas, wind power, and ethanol production—during the last decade created jobs in rural economies, but the employment impacts varied widely based on the industry.

  • Factors Affecting Former Residents' Returning to Rural Communities

    ERR-185, May 21, 2015

    The desire to raise children back home was among the most frequently cited reasons for returning to live in relatively remote rural areas. Most nonreturnees who considered returning cited limited career opportunities as the primary barrier.

  • Farm-Based Recreation: A Statistical Profile

    ERR-53, December 31, 2007

    Farm-based recreation provides an important niche market for farmers, but limited empirical information is available on the topic. Access to two USDA databases, the 2004 Agricultural Resource Management Survey (ARMS) and the 2000 National Survey on Recreation and the Environment, provided researchers with a deeper understanding of who operates farm-based recreation enterprises, such as hunting and fishing operations, horseback riding businesses, on-farm rodeos, and petting zoos. Regression analysis identified the importance of various farmer and farm characteristics, as well as local and regional factors associated with farmer operation of, and income derived from, farm-based recreation.

  • Foundation Giving to Rural Areas in the United States Is Disproportionately Low

    Amber Waves, August 03, 2015

    ERS estimates that the value of U.S. foundation grants to benefit rural areas was 6-7 percent of total domestic grants in 2010.

  • Growth of Hispanics in Rural Workforce

    Amber Waves, April 01, 2004

    Technological change and industrial restructuring in rural America in the 1990s led some employers to demand more unskilled workers relative to skilled workers. Many of those unskilled workers were Hispanics, who now represent an increased share of the rural workforce

  • Hired Farm Labor Held Steady in Great Recession

    Amber Waves, December 01, 2011

    After declining for much of the previous decade, the employment of hired farm laborers, supervisors, and managers stabilized in 2008 and rose somewhat in 2009 and 2010.

  • In The Long Run

    Amber Waves, February 01, 2008

    Educational attainment is an indicator of human capital; it provides an individual with knowledge and skills that can lead to future earnings and the ability to adapt to changing environments.

  • In the Long Run: Growth in Nonmetro Poverty Is Tied to Recessionary Increases in Unemployment

    Amber Waves, December 01, 2010

    The dramatic increase in unemployment during the 2007-09 recession is tied to growth in the number of nonmetro residents living in poverty.

  • In the Long Run: Nonmetro Educational Attainment

    Amber Waves, September 01, 2004

    At the current rate of change, rural educational attainment will reach a historic milestone early in the next decade, as adult college graduates will outnumber adults without a high school diploma.