A low-skilled worker is any worker who hasn´t some special skill, knowledge, or ability in his work.
Increases in productivity and International competition are changing the nature of work in the
rural sector, service sector and manufacturing sector.
In recent years many workers lost their jobs due to fundamental changes in industries.
For example In rural America are the most vulnerable to displacement caused by increases
in productivity and international competition.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service (ERS)
estimates that 42 percent of rural jobs are low-skill.
Less educated workers were more likely to be displaced as workers with a college
degree lost their jobs at half the rate of those with only a high school education.
Today, most low-skill workers are employed in the growing
service sector, in which a typical job demands higher skills than a typical
job in goods-sector industries such as manufacturing, mining, and agriculture.
In addition, new production methods in many industries are raising occupational
skill demands and contributing to the decline in the low-skill share of employment.
This decline in the low-skill share of employment affects the well-being of
rural workers and the economic development of small towns across.
Jobs requiring more skill tend to pay more and offer better benefits,
leaving workers and their families better off and possibly reducing
demand for Federal and State support services. High-skill jobs also make
rural communities less vulnerable to international competition and more
attractive to high-wage employers. Understanding the factors driving
changes in job-skill levels could help for example in rural areas choosing more effective
development strategies and ensure that all groups benefit from economic
The low-skill workforce includes a majority of the rural working poor and near-poor population.
According to ERS research, the declining share of rural workers in low-skill jobs resulted from
a shift in industrial employment from the goods-producing sector to the service sector.
Mining and manufacturing, major forces in the goods sector, have historically required a
large number of workers with limited skills, but now employ a much smaller proportion of the
rural workforce than in previous decades. On the other hand, service employment, with typically
higher verbal and quantitative skill requirements, grew rapidly.
A shift within the service sector toward less-skilled jobs, however, offset the drop in
goods-producing employment. Most of the recent decline in the low-skill share of rural employment
is attributable to occupational shifts within industries, with the most pronounced shift in the goods sector.
These shifts reflect a growing demand for workers engaged in high-skill activities, such as administration and
research associated with corporate headquarters.
Moreover, technological advances in the way that goods and services are produced favor workers
who can perform more complex tasks and are more proficient in verbal and quantitative skills.