The Challenge for Manufacturing in Rural America: Employee Recruitment

Feb 9, 2018

Through a series of annual reports, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is examining the rural-urban economic divide from the manufacturing perspective. In reports such as Rural Manufacturing at a Glance and Rural America at a Glance, the USDA conclusively determined that Rural America relies on the manufacturing industry for sustainability far more than urban communities. Manufacturing provides one of the main sources of employment and highest earnings, forming the economic backbone of almost 20 percent of rural counties.

The Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) National Network also examined the differences between rural and urban manufacturing companies and found that professional growth opportunities are far easier to come by in rural communities. Despite these positive attributes, both the USDA and MEP National Network found that rural manufacturing employment figures have been declining as workers flock to cities in search of opportunity. This creates an employee recruitment challenge that wasn’t previously a concern. In addition, with the economy seeing such fluctuation over the past several years, “economic restructuring is altering job opportunities for rural areas of the country as demand for services grows.” The MEP National Network is working with these rural manufacturing companies in conjunction with their research to adapt to the changing marketplace and ensure long term success.

For further information on the MEP National Network, click here: https://www.nist.gov/mep/mep-national-network

To review the USDA Rural Manufacturing at a Glance, 2017 Edition, click here: https://www.ers.usda.gov/webdocs/publications/84758/eib-177.pdf?v=42962

To review the USDA Rural American at a Glance, 2017 Edition, click here: https://www.ers.usda.gov/webdocs/publications/85740/eib-182.pdf?v=43054