Excerpt from the report Summary: While growth and economic vitality were the dominant rural themes in the 1970's, structural change and economic dislocation have become overriding rural issues in the 1980's. In recent decades, the rural economy has shifted from heavy dependence on natural resource-based industries to more reliance on manufacturing and services industries, much of it in low-wage, low-skill jobs. This industrial restructuring has left rural areas open to rapid shifts in production technologies, which appear to have reduced their competitive position in the national and international economy. At the same time, the rural economy has become more closely tied with national and global economies, making it more sensitive to changes in macro economic policy, business cycles, and global competition. These events, combined with longstanding weaknesses in the rural economy, have led to significant problems in some areas, raising questions about the ability of rural areas to adapt.