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Rural communities in the Midwest gained manufacturing jobs during the 1980’s and into the 1990’s even as urban areas sustained large job losses. Mirroring national patterns, most of the rural manufacturing job gains were in less urbanized and completely rural nonmetro counties. In addition, counties that have gained manufacturing jobs exhibited substantially better economic performance than other counties. These recent trends indicate that, as long as rural manufacturing firms are able to maintain their competitiveness, manufacturing may well provide the basis for continued economic growth.


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