Publications

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  • Rural Hispanics At A Glance

    EIB-8, December 28, 2005

    Rural Hispanics at a Glance provides the latest information from the 2000 Census and other Federal data sources about Hispanics living in nonmetro counties. This six-page brochure highlights growth and geographic dispersion, demographic characteristics, and the most recent indicators of social and economic conditions for this population. It emphasizes rapid Hispanic population growth, particularly in new rural destinations of the Midwest and Southeast, and it illustrates differences in age structure between Hispanics and non-Hispanic Whites. The report also provides data on important demographic, labor market, income, poverty, and social service indicators for nonmetro Hispanics. Using a visually interesting format that incorporates text bullets with charts and maps, it quickly provides information on key indicators of the rural Hispanic population to assist public officials, community organizations, private decision makers and others in their efforts to enhance the economic opportunities and quality of life for this rapidly growing population.

  • 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.

  • On the Map

    Amber Waves, November 01, 2005

    Indicators: On the Map - November 2005

  • Low-Skill Employment and the Changing Economy of Rural America

    ERR-10, October 31, 2005

    This study reports trends in rural low-skill employment in the 1990s and their impact on the rural workforce. The share of rural jobs classified as low-skill fell by 2.2 percentage points between 1990 and 2000, twice the decline of the urban low-skill employment share, but much less than the decline of the 1980s. Employment shifts from low-skill to skilled occupations within industries, rather than changes in industry mix, explain virtually all of the decline in the rural low-skill employment share. The share decline was particularly large for rural Black women, many of whom moved out of low-skill blue-collar work into service occupations, while the share of rural Hispanics who held low-skill jobs increased.

  • Low Earnings But Steady Job Growth in Low-Employment Counties

    Amber Waves, September 01, 2005

    In 2000, overall job growth in low-employment counties was steady but slower than in nonmetro areas. Nonmetro low-employment counties also had lower earnings per job in 2000 than all other nonmetro counties. Low wages reduce the incentive to enter the labor market, especially among adults in families that require child care.

  • Most Low Education Counties Are in the Nonmetro South

    Amber Waves, June 01, 2005

    ERS's recently revised county typology classifies low education counties as those where at least one of every four adults age 25-64 has not completed high school. Nearly 9 of 10 low education counties are located in the South, including a majority of southern counties with historically large shares of Blacks and Hispanics.

  • Nonmetro Labor Markets Remain Soft

    Amber Waves, February 01, 2005

    In 2004, the U.S. economic recovery that began in November 2001 became broad-based, with most domestic sectors exhibiting moderate to strong growth. Construction, especially residential construction, and strong housing markets have boosted overall economic growth. Nonmetro as well as metro areas, however, continue to struggle with soft labor markets.

  • Low-Skill Jobs: A Shrinking Share of the Rural Economy

    Amber Waves, November 01, 2004

    In the 1990s, the rural economy slightly outpaced the national decline in low-skill job share, reflecting rural America’s participation in an increasingly skill-intensive national economy. The long-term decline in rural low-skill jobs stemmed first from a steep decline in farm employment and more recently from declines in rural manufacturing. Today, most low-skill jobs in rural areas are in the service sector - government, trade, and consumer and business services - rather than in the goods production sector represented by agriculture, mining, construction, and manufacturing.

  • 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.

  • Responding to Rural Jobs Losses: The Virginia Example

    Amber Waves, June 01, 2004

    Recent plant closings in the textile and apparel industries have had a major impact on rural areas. In response to large local job losses in rural communities, the Commonwealth of Virginia established Coordinated Economic Relief Centers (CERCs) in early 2002 to provide dislocated workers and other low-income residents access to a broad range of programs and services in one location.

  • New Patterns of Hispanic Settlement in Rural America

    RDRR-99, May 28, 2004

    Since 1980, the nonmetro Hispanic population in the United States has doubled and is now the most rapidly growing demographic group in rural and small-town America. By 2000, half of all nonmetro Hispanics lived outside traditional settlement areas of the Southwest. Many Hispanics in counties that have experienced rapid Hispanic growth are recent U.S. arrivals with relatively low education levels, weak English proficiency, and undocumented status. This recent settlement has increased the visibility of Hispanics in many new regions of rural America whose population has long been dominated by non-Hispanic Whites. Yet within smaller geographic areas, the level of residential separation between them increased-i.e., the two groups became less evenly distributed-during the 1990s, especially in rapidly growing counties. Hispanic settlement patterns warrant attention by policymakers because they affect the well-being of both Hispanics and rural communities themselves.

  • 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

  • Rural Education at a Glance

    RDRR-98, January 29, 2004

    This report provides the latest information from the 2000 Census and other Federal sources on the education characteristics of rural workers and counties. It documents the steady rise in rural adult educational attainment in the 1990s and the increasing importance of education to rural workers and places. The report also finds that racial educational differences remain large and that adult education levels remain far below the national average in many rural counties, particularly in the South. Counties with more educated populations appear to have performed better economically in the 1990s and have lower poverty rates.

  • Rural College Graduates Make a Comeback

    Amber Waves, September 01, 2003

    The movement of better educated adults from rural areas to urban areas has a longstanding history in America. Data from the 2000 Census, however, show a departure from this trend, as rural areas held their own in the 1990s by attracting and keeping college graduates to work and raise families.

  • The Dynamics of Hired Farm Labor

    Amber Waves, June 01, 2003

    Since World War II, the number of farmworkers has significantly declined as technology has advanced. Yet, hired farmworkers as a share of the total agricultural workforce - which includes farm operators and unpaid workers - have increased since the 1940s and accounted, on average, for over one-third of agricultural employment in the 1990s, up from one-quarter in the 1950s.

  • Low-Skill Workers Are a Declining Share of All Rural Workers

    Amber Waves, June 01, 2003

    Rural workers in jobs with low skill requirements declined as a share of all rural workers during the 1990s, a decade when technological change seemed to favor high-skill urban-oriented economic activities. The share of workers in low-skill jobs declined more in rural areas (2.2 percentage points) than in cities and suburbs (1.1 percentage point) in the 1990s. This trend suggests that rural workers as a whole are participating in the long-term national movement toward a more skill-intensive economy marked by higher labor productivity and wages. The low-skill workforce includes a majority of the rural working poor and near-poor population, who are the focus of recent Federal policy initiatives designed to ensure a sustainable wage. By 2000, 42 percent of rural America's 25 million workers were employed in jobs with low skill requirements (6 percentage points above the national average).

  • "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?

  • Rural America: Opportunities and Challenges

    Amber Waves, February 03, 2003

    At the beginning of the 21st century, some rural areas have shared in the economic progress of the Nation, while others have not. The opportunities and challenges facing rural America are as varied as rural America itself.

  • Rural America at a Glance

    RDRR-94-1, September 13, 2002

    Rural America At A Glance is a six-page brochure that highlights the most recent indicators of social and economic conditions in rural areas for use in developing policies and programs to assist rural areas. This brochure is the first in a series of reports that uses current social and economic data, along with recently released information from the 2000 census, to highlight important population, labor market, income, and poverty trends in rural areas. The format of the report incorporates text bullets with charts and maps to make the report easy-to-read and visually interesting. This brochure provides information on key rural conditions and trends for use by public and private decisionmakers and others in efforts to enhance the economic opportunities and quality of life for rural people and their communities.

  • 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.