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Nonmetropolitan America contains almost 25 percent of the nation's population and 33 percent of its labor force. Rural residents are more likely to experience subemployment or poverty than their urban counterparts', and nonmetropolitan areas have lower wage rates and family income than urban areas. During the 1970s, rural areas benefited from a shift of manufacturing jobs from the metropolitan to nonmetro areas. However, during the 1980s employment prospects for nonmetro areas have deteriorated (USDA 1987). Part of this change in prospects is a result of increased international competition for U.S. manufactured goods and agricultural products. In addition, a major business-cycle contraction started in 1981. The relatively rapid growth of service sector employment during the 1980s has largely by-passed rural labor markets.