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AP Seminar

21 April 2017

Job Opportunity in Rural Areas

According to Richard Nixon, work ethic is why Americans are considered an

industrious, purposeful people (Nixon). Americans are constantly working to create bigger and

better products, technologies, and businesses. Survival of companies that make these new

products depend on having the right workforce. More often, this workforce is found in urban

areas which means people are living near where they work. Urbanization and growth of cities has

caused the human race to move to urban areas. Due to this movement, more industry, recreation,

sports for children, resources, and higher rated education systems, arts, and entertainment are

located within urban areas. These things draw people to move to urban areas, thereby relocating

and decreasing the population in rural areas. Companies have to locate where the workers live so

this automatically causes businesses to relocate, or to be created in areas where the population is

bigger, so they can be more successful. These urban areas often have a larger and more educated

workforce. The moving of businesses to urban areas results in a lack of jobs in rural areas for

those who choose not to move or who return home after college. It also may result in higher

crime rates and higher numbers of people on Medicaid and other social benefit plans. It is

important for policy makers to realize the importance of these rural areas to our nation, and that

leaving them with no jobs will create impoverished areas and dying communities.

One major reason for the mass urbanization that has taken place over the past hundred

years is due to industrialization and the wants and needs of the United States citizens. According

to Jay Fitzgerald, a Globe Correspondent for the Boston Globe, part of the reason that companies

and businesses move to the city is because people want to live where the activity is and they do

not want to commute long distances each day to work. The unwillingness of people to commute

to places of employment is a factor in companies moving to urban areas (Fitzgerald). Without the

companies and businesses creating and sustaining jobs in rural areas, many rural areas suffer

high poverty rates and high unemployment. Nelson D. Schwartz, a reporter for the New York

Times, uses the executive team at General Electric as an example of a business that is moving

from a rural area to an urban area. General Electric is relocating from a 70-acre wooded campus

in rural Fairfield, Connecticut, to the major metropolitan area of Boston, Massachusetts. General

Electrics move is significant because they have been in Fairfield since opening in 1974

(Schwartz). This company has supplied a large amount of high wage jobs in Fairfield, but by

leaving this area, these jobs will be eliminated. The loss of these jobs also affects the community

through company involvement with charities, less property tax, and fewer wages to be spent in

stores and restaurants that have depended on General Electric for over forty years. General

Electric moved in order to find new white collar executive employees. Overall, it is apparent that

the unemployment rates in rural areas is somewhat caused by companies fleeing their rural roots

and moving to urban areas.

It is also apparent that while jobs remain in rural areas, they may not be the type of jobs

that provide steady wages and benefits, like health insurance, which are necessary to raise a

family. Companies and businesses are also moving from urbanized areas into rural areas. For

example, Herbert Brotspies, mentions Wal-Mart in his peer reviewed source. He mentions that

Wal-Mart has had success in opening retail discount mass merchandising stores throughout the

United States, these are mostly in small, rural cities, where limited competition exists. As a piece

of growth plans, Wal-Mart started opening stores in larger, suburban and urban areas. These

stores now have competition from specialty retailers such as Target. In the future, the older

stores sales growth will slow and the growth from of new stores in urbanized areas will be

limited because of communities that objecting to Wal-Mart opening locations in their towns

(Brotspies 1). This information about Wal-Mart may be true, but most businesses are doing the

complete opposite and leaving rural areas. An example of this is Youngstown, Ohio mentioned

by Derek Thompson in his peer reviewed journal A World Without Work, published by the

Atlantic Magazine. Youngstown went through an increase in unemployment rates in 1977.

Youngstowns steel mill gave such great prosperity causing the city to be a model of the

American dream. Youngstowns median income and homeownership rate were close to

Americas highest. However, manufacturing moved overseas World War II, causing

Youngstown steel to suffer. In September 1977 after the industry moved, Youngstown Sheet and

Tube announced the shuttering of its Campbell Works mill. Within the next five years,

Youngstown lost 50,000 jobs and 1.3 billion dollars in manufacturing wages (Thompson).

Businesses are not only leaving rural areas to move to urban areas, but are also moving overseas

and taking jobs that were traditionally located in rural areas like textiles, steel, and furniture

manufacturing with them. The end result is fewer jobs in rural areas.

Another cause of the decrease of jobs in rural areas is the increase in technology. With

the use of new technologies, manufacturing and agricultural jobs are on the decline. For

example, according to Jeremy Rifkin in an article that was reproduced by two authors of The

Case Against the Global Economy and For a Turn Towards the Local, Millions of farm

labourers were put out of work due to the mechanical, biological, and chemical revolutions in

American agriculture over the past 100 years. This caused the country to transfer from a large

agricultural society to an urban, industrial nation. 60 percent of the working population was

employed in agriculture in 1850. Now less than 2.7 percent of the country's workforce is

involved in farming (Rifkin). This shows that there has been not only a decrease in the amount of

agricultural related jobs, but a similar decrease of the people employed in those areas has

occurred as well. According to Patricia A. Daily, an economist in the Office of Current

Employment Analysis, Most agricultural jobs are located in rural areas so this increase in

technology has and will continue to decrease the amount job opportunities in rural areas. Daily

states that, Agricultural workers are more likely to be self-employed, and the latter have always

put in longer hours than wage and salary workers, a factor that skews the hours distribution.

Nevertheless, even among wage and salary workers, full-time agricultural workers averaged 49.1

hours, compared with 42.1 hours for persons in nonagricultural jobs(Daily 3). While the amount

of jobs are decreasing in rural areas in agriculture, it is hard for average citizens to get a job in

this field of work due to the need for capital assets and that most are self employed. This is

affecting the economy in a negative way because the agriculture field of work is very important.

This importance is found as it helps the population to survive due to the need for a food supply.

Education is also a key factor in the job placement and opportunity, and it seemingly fits

that those in rural areas may not have the same education opportunities as those in urbanized

areas. According to a study mentioned by Jenine K. Harris from Washington University in St.

Louis, Participants were 32 years old on average and many (25.7%) had less than a high school

education. Unemployed participants had lower levels of education; there was no notable

difference in age between employed and unemployed participants. White women and African

American men had been unemployed the longest on average; 15 and 12.5 months, respectively

(Harris 4). This study demonstrates the fact that education is a major factor in why some rural

areas have less jobs available because an employable workforce is not readily available.

Therefore, if companies with a need for highly-skilled workers attempt to locate in many rural

areas, it may be difficult to find enough employees to hire and to successfully operate the

companys business.

Lastly, the unemployment of the rural working class may cause mental and physical

health problems. With the decreasing amounts of jobs, mental health often suffers. If the lack of

jobs in rural areas continues, the mental health of those unemployed will continue to get worse.

A Rutgers study, mentioned by Rebecca J. Rosen, found much higher rates of reporting feeling

ashamed or embarrassed or strain in family relations for those for whom a loss of a job had

had devastating financial consequences (Rosen). This demonstrates that unemployment is not

good for mental health and could cause more stress for someone that is unemployed than for

someone with a good job. This shows that in places like rural area where the unemployment rates

are high there is also a likelihood of mental health issues of that area.

The urban-rural divide is not a new problem, but it is only getting worse. In North

Carolina, there are some areas that are doing economically well like Raleigh, Charlotte,

Greensboro, Wilmington and Asheville. In contrast, places such as Laurinburg, Tarboro, Eden,

Princeville and Raeford struggle. The state needs to find solutions to help the areas that are

struggling so we can have a stronger state economy. This same issue is going on in every state in

the country. Without solutions, it can be hard for our country's economy and population to come

back from. One solution that could solve this issue includes The United States Employment

Problems (U.S.E.S) which aids youth in rural areas to reduce and prevent the unemployment

problems that face rural areas (Louis 1). This solution is mentioned by Levine Louis, who is the

author of an article called The Employment Service and Rural Youth that was electronically

published by ERIC and EBSCOhost. This program helps youth in rural areas to get a job, as well

as creates new jobs to give to the rural citizens.

Another solution to help prevent this problem from being so prevalent is making

companies move to rural areas to produce more jobs. This goes along with the service mentioned

above. Government subsidies could be given to companies to persuade the business to consider

moving their headquarters, or location to a rural area that is thoroughly lacking jobs. An example

of an organization that does this is Golden LEAF which provides economic assistance to tobacco

dependent and distressed regions of North Carolina (Frequently Asked Questions). Another

service that helps rural businesses is the USDA. The USDA awards grants to support small

businesses in starting up and expanding (USDA Helps Rural Businesses Create Jobs and

Increase Economic Opportunities). Without these foundations, more regions of our country

would be affected by unemployment.

Overall, it is apparent that urban areas are taking the rural area jobs away and the

government needs to assist in helping to create opportunities for those who are less fortunate and

may have difficulty finding a job. As seen in Youngstown, Ohio, this issue is very prevalent

especially in the United States. Without jobs to keep our population busy, it often affects our

health, safety, and ability to be accepted by society. A persons education level is directly

related to securing a job especially in rural areas, because as businesses are relocating, the job

market gets tougher. Therefore, rural communities are significantly affected by the transfer of

businesses into urban areas.

Word Count: 1919


Works Cited

Address to the Nation on Labor Day by Richard Nixon. Source: Gerhard Peters and John T.

Woolley, The American Presidency Project (http://www.

A World Without Work by Derek Thompson. 2015 The Atlantic Media Co., as first

published in The Atlantic Magazine. All rights reserved. Distributed by Tribune Content

Agency, LLC.



International Academy for Case Studies, vol. 16, no. 4, 2010, pp. 6777.,

eb14%40sessionmgr120&vid=36&hid=116. Accessed 27 Mar. 2017. This journal is

credible because it is a scholarly/peer-reviewed source.

Daily, Patricia A. Agricultural Employment: Has the Decline Ended? . Monthly Labor Review,

Nov. 1981, pp. 1117., Accessed 6 Apr. 2017.

Fitzgerald, Jay. Young Workers Pushing Companies to Locate in Cities.,

Boston Globe Media Partners, LLC, 19 July 2012,

es/floNwOrsmmwxQe3sPatQiM/story.html. Accessed 27 Mar. 2017.

Frequently Asked Questions. Golden LEAF Foundation North Carolina, 2016 Golden LEAF

Foundation, Inc., Accessed 21 Apr. 2017.


Harris, Jenine K. Employment Networks in a High-Unemployment Rural Area. Connections ,

vol. 34, no. 1 & 2, 12ADAD, pp. 613.,

eb14%40sessionmgr120&vid=46&hid=116. Accessed 27 Mar. 2017.

Louis , Levine. The Employment Service and Rural Youth. ERIC, ERIC, Accessed 15 Mar. 2017.

Rifkin, Jeremy. New Technology and the End of Jobs. New Technology and the End of Jobs, Accessed 6 Apr. 2017.

Rosen, Rebecca J. The Mental-Health Consequences of Unemployment. The Atlantic, Atlantic

Media Company, 9 June 2014,

oyment/372449/. Accessed 7 Apr. 2017.

Schwartz, Nelson D. Why Corporate America Is Leaving the Suburbs for the City. The New

York Times, The New York Times, 1 Aug. 2016,

burbs-for-the-city.html?_r=0. Accessed 16 Mar. 2017.

USDA Helps Rural Businesses Create Jobs and Increase Economic Opportunities. USDA,


nd-increase-economic#. Accessed 21 Apr. 2017.