This paper points to the sharp growth in the rural service sector, identifies the economic precursors and consequences of service-sector activity, delineates issues for public policy, and speculates on the future. Especially in rural areas, service industries constitute the fastest-growing sector of the American economy. Recent trends in the demand for services and in the technology of service provision suggest that country folk will soon have access to certain specialized services formerly denied to all but urbanites. However, because the service sector is so different from agriculture and manufacturing, its growth poses unique challenges for rural development policy.
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