Nonmetropolitan communities in the United States have historically depended on natural resources industries and manufacturing for their employment and sustenance. In recent decades, the number of jobs in these goods-producing industries has steadily declined, and this trend is likely to continue. The loss of goods producing jobs has been offset by increased employment in the service sector. A prominent concern resulting from this economic structure transformation is the impending mismatch in the education and skills of nonmetro workers and the education and skills needed to obtain high quality employment in the service sector. The data presented in this manuscript show that most nonmetro workers in the goods-producing industries have a high school education or less. Further, goods-producing workers with a high school degree or less, who are employed in the expanding service sector, earn considerably lower wages than can similarly educated workers in the contracting, goods-producing sector. On the other hand, the growth of service sector employment is resulting in increasing numbers of high quality jobs that generally require a college education. Unfortunately, the proportion of nonmetro workers with such education is relatively small. The implications of this mismatch are discussed.

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