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Abstract

Establishments in metropolitan and nonmetropolitan locations are surprisingly similar in their adoption of new technologies, worker skill requirements, use of government programs and technical assistance, exports, and sources of financing, according to the results of a nationwide survey of 3,909 manufacturing businesses. The most widespread concern of both metro and nonmetro businesses appears to be with quality of labor. Survey respondents report rapidly increasing skill requirements, and many report problems finding qualified workers. Quality of local labor is the most frequently cited problem associated with nonmetro business locations. Access to credit, transportation, and telecommunications infrastructure is a problem of secondary importance for both metro and nonmetro respondents. Rural communities face a considerable challenge in supplying workers with needed skills. The fastest-growing skill requirements -- computer, interpersonal/teamwork, and problem-solving skills -- are not central to traditional academic instruction.

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