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The composition of the rural labor force changed over the last two decades due to an overall decline in population growth, aging of the population, and a changing industry structure. The urban and rural workforces became more racially and ethnically diverse during the 2010s, though the rural workforce remains less diverse than the urban. Two mainstay industries of the rural economy, agriculture, and manufacturing, recorded growth in output and productivity but not jobs. Rural America has become more economically diverse, with increasing employment in health care, hospitality, and other service industries. The 2022 edition of Rural America at a Glance looks at the changing structure of economic sectors, the labor force, and job growth in rural areas.

byJames C. Davis,Anil Rupasingha,John Cromartie, andAustin Sanders


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