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Abstract

The four main ways in which rural employment creation can be grounded on the exploitation of natural capital can be structured by two complementary analytical directions. These are firstly, ‘production’ based on (a) renewable resources (agriculture, energy) and (b) depletive resources (energy, construction materials) and, secondly, ‘consumption’ by (a) non-residents (tourism and leisure) and (b) residents (incomers including the wealthy retired). This analysis forms the basis of a conceptual framework (Rural Europe 2+2+) which recognises that there is no simple definition of rural employment but that a sustainable approach to exploiting natural capital, together with the development of the other capitals of the territory via a place-based (i.e. territorial policy) approach, can create jobs and encourage working age people either to stay in, or relocate to, rural areas. Thus five Strategic Orientations which target the major driving forces for rural employment, namely natural, financial, human, physical and social capital, and the interactions between them, could be the focus for future rural employment strategies. They are as follows: SO1. Encourage the development of key growth sectors; SO2. Reinforce the local rural economy; SO3. Improve skills and labour market participation in rural areas; SO4. Develop infrastructure and services; and SO5. Ensure proper implementation of the strategy through support actions.

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