Rural Manufacturing on the Rebound

Report indicates rural manufacturing has increased the number of jobs during the past two years at double the overall national rate.
By GRIT staff
September/October 2012
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In an entry for The Rural Blog, blogger Amy Wilson writes about a report written for The Main Street Economist that details how rural manufacturing has come back stronger in the past two years.

The report’s writer, Jason Henderson, vice president and Omaha branch executive for the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, says, “Stronger global economic growth and a drop in the value of the dollar from its highs a decade ago has boosted U.S. manufactured exports. Rural factories have tapped global markets and a booming agricultural sector to spur rising employment and incomes. While the prospect of additional strength at rural factories remains promising, the rebuilding of rural America’s manufacturing base rests on the retooling of rural factories with skilled workers for competition in global markets.”

The report, Rebuilding Rural Manufacturing, includes statistics that show rural manufacturing increased the number of jobs by 3.8 percent in 2011, which was double the national rate. Workers are putting in more than 40 hours a week, and wages show a growth of more than 7 percent during the past year.

Henderson writes that "economic growth in developing countries has spawned demand for commodity-based products."

U.S. Census Bureau statistics show that rural communities have lost about one-third of their factory jobs since 1995, and one out of eight rural factory jobs disappeared in 2009 alone.

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