By Pete Julius

In order to successfully attract businesses to rural communities, it is imperative to understand which industries gravitate to less populated areas.  For most communities, it is extremely challenging to attract businesses.  For rural communities which do not typically have the limelight or the resources that larger communities possess, this challenge is even greater.  By understanding which industries gravitate to rural communities, that challenge can be overcome. 

The table below displays the top five most active industries in non-metropolitan areas during 2001.  Transportation equipment manufacturing is the most active industry by a wide margin.  Of the top five, the transportation equipment manufacturing industry also averages the most in investments and the number of employees, which is very valuable information for rural communities targeting industries that produce the most jobs.   

Number of Companies NAICS Codes NAICS Code Description Average Investment ($millions) Average Employees Average Square Footage (Thousands)
67 336 Transportation Equipment Mfg. 991.3 5701 2303
39 23311 Land Subdivision & Development 140.6 20 2692
34 336399 Misc. Motor Vehicle Parts Mfg. 218 966 505
30 311 Food Manufacturing 148.3 2278 2120
30 326199 Miscellaneous Plastics Product Mfg. 161.3 909 485

Source: Conway Data Scoreboard