Nonmetropolitan America in Transition

By Amos H. Hawley; Sara Mills Mazie | Go to book overview
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Thomas E. Till

Manufacturing Industry: Trends and Impacts


Machines replaced men so quickly during the technological revolution on America's farms that the number of farm jobs (and, through multiplier effects, total employment) shrank drastically in recent decades. As a result, migratory streams swelled metro areas, often intensifying their problems; and the rural hinterland desperately sought jobs to replace those lost in farming. In most nonmetro areas, attracting factory employment became the primary strategy. The state of knowledge on this effort is the subject of this chapter. It will address the following questions: (1) What is the extent and pattern of employment changes, especially since 1960? (2) Why have these manufacturing patterns occurred? (3) What has been the impact of manufacturing growth, both on the nonmetro population in general and on the poor in particular? (4) Finally, what are the implications for policy?

To make this vast body of literature1 manageable, several restrictions will be observed: (1) The topic of industrial development will be narrowed to that of manufacturing employment, rather than to any other Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) "one-digit" industry. Consequently, the impacts of the boom in mining and other energy employment, recreational jobs, growth of the service sector, and other base activities will not be covered. (2) Because recent changes seem more relevant to policy, the period of the 1960s and 1970s will be stressed. (3) Here, as elsewhere, nonmetro shall be used in preference to "rural." Not only are employment data more inadequate for any other definition, but also it seems functionally unwise to sepa


Special thanks are due to Mr. Claude C. Haren of the Economics, Statistics and Cooperatives Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture. The data he has provided on nonmetropolitan employment are invaluable.


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