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 CompaniesNAICS CodesNAICS Code DescriptionAverage Investment ($millions)Average EmployeesAverage Square Footage (Thousands)
67336Transportation Equipment Mfg.991.357012303
3923311Land Subdivision & Development140.6202692
34336399Misc. Motor Vehicle Parts Mfg.218966505
30311Food Manufacturing148.322782120
30326199Miscellaneous Plastics Product Mfg.161.3909485

Source: Conway Data Scoreboard