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Abstract

This study describes employment changes in the flue-cured tobacco area between 1960 and 1970, based on the latest Population Census figures available. The region is composed of 45 multicounty districts in Virginia, the Carolinas, Georgia, and Florida. Employment in production of flue-cured tobacco declined sharply, dropping by 41 percent between 1965 and 1972. Between 1960 and 1970 the area's agricultural employment was cut in half, while employment in nonfarm sectors grew 30.5 percent. Farm employment dropped and nonfarm employment rose in all districts of the area. The study used as a measure of the local nonfarm economy's capacity to absorb surplus farmworkers the ratio of nonfarm employment gains to farm employment losses. This varied widely from district to district. The districts with the most rapid growth in total employment tended to be those with a small proportion of employment in agriculture. Total employment in the area rose by some 750,000 during the period. The service sectors as a group were the biggest contributors, adding 382,800 jobs; agriculture lost 217,600 jobs, the most for any sector. A shift-share analysis determined that a considerable amount of employment was concentrated in sectors that, on the national level, were slow growing. However, most sectors in the area grew faster than their national counterparts and the growth rate of the area economy exceeded that of the Nation. The area economy made a net shift during the decade toward faster growing sectors. The study found no relationship between a district's degree of economic specialization in 1970 and its rate of employment growth. The manufacturing sector for the area became more diversified during the decade, as it did in 41 of the 45 districts.

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