To reach the levels of prosperity in the urban South, rural leaders have a three-fold challenge: to improve human capital, to improve local amenities, and to identify the niche of rural communities in the new economic regions of the South, in other words, spatial labor markets will play a key role. The article first reviews key problems facing rural communities in the South that are likely to cause rural earnings-per-worker and employment opportunities to lag behind those in urban centers. Next, examples are given of the types of empirical and conceptual work needed to examine the role that space plays in shaping the performance of rural labor markets in the South. The concluding section provides a summary and a research agenda for understanding spatial dimensions of rural labor markets in the South.

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