A conference sponsored by USDA's Economic Research Service and Farm Foundation

The economy is in a constant state of change. Technological breakthroughs, changing consumer preferences and trade liberalization have transformed how and where products are made. Industries that once evolved over a generation to meet new competitive challenges are now restructuring every few years. A critical policy challenge is finding ways to smooth the progress of structural change while enhancing the productive potential of workers and rural communities facing local economic contraction.

This conference focused on the circumstances of rural areas that are typcially more reliant on trade-sensitive sectors, and where economies are less diversified than in urban locales. Participants--community leaders, policy officials, program administrators and researchers--gained a broader understanding of how global economic forces impact rural communities, and how government responses might assist in economic restructurings.


Betsy Kuhn, Director, Food and Rural Economics Division, USDA's Economic Research Service

Walter Armbruster, Farm Foundation

The Issue and its Rural Context

Stephen MacDonald, USDA's Economic Research Service

Assessing the Benefits and Distributional Costs of Globalization
Robert Thompson, University of Illinois

The Rural Context of Restructuring from Globalization
Tim Wojan, USDA's Economic Research Service

Leslie Hossfeld, Institute for Emerging Issues, North Carolina State University

How Rural Workers and Industries are Affected by Globalization

Import Penetration in Traditional Rural Manufacturing Industries
Jean Crews-Kelin, North Carolina Rural Economic Development Center

Displacement of Textile and Apparel Workers
Karen Hamrick, USDA's Economic Research Service

Mark Henry, Clemson University

The Case of Offshoring Services

Globalization and the New Economy in Rural America
Martin Kenney, University of California-Davis

Which Jobs are Most Vulnerable to Offshoring
Jon Sargent and Chester Levine, Office of Occupational Statistics and Employment Projections, Bureau of Labor Statistics

Current U.S. Programs

Erin FitzGerald, U.S. Department of Labor Employment and Training Administration

Dolores Esser, Commissioner, Virginia Employment Commission

Bill Hagy, Deputy Administrator, Business Programs, USDA Rural Development-Rural Business Programs

Local Strategies for Responding to Restructuring

Modernization and Increasing Competitiveness
Jan Youtie, Georgia Institute of Technology

Promoting Distinctiveness through Design
Stuart Rosenfeld, Regional Technology Strategies

The Role of Entrepreneurship
Deborah Markley, RUPRI Center for Rural Entrepreneurship


Policy Recommendations and Future Research Directions

Thomas Vollrath, USDA's Economic Research Service

Randy Johnson, Commissioner, Hennepin County, Minn.

Howard Rosen, Trade Adjustment Assistance Coalition

Walt Armbruster, Farm Foundation