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Rural Development

SERA - Study on Employment in Rural Areas (2005)

Rural labour markets across Europe have been experiencing a period of continuous and rapid change. The decline of primary sector agricultural and food-production industries has been accompanied by increases in service employment, especially in tourism. However the tenacity of localised unemployment, and in particular long-term unemployment, is consistently worse in rural areas. Accordingly, a number of recent studies have sought to investigate the dynamics of the unemployment problem within these labour markets, resulting in the identification of a range of barriers to work faced by rural job seekers. These barriers include: demand-side problems related to industrial restructuring, geographical remoteness, and low population density; localised skills mismatches; an over-reliance on low-skilled, casual (often seasonal) work; the preponderance of small enterprises that are more likely to fall victim to sectoral downturns; and a weak transport and service infrastructure.

The SERA project aims at analysing the situation in rural areas with regards to demographic and employment aspects as well as basic services and infrastructure. The methodology incorporates both full exploitation of available secondary data relating to demographic and employment change, and a limited amount of primary data collection, in the form of case studies. Presentation of results will be enhanced through the provision of statistical maps at the NUTS 3 level. Here, the OECD rural areas typology (based on municipality data) will form an underlying framework for the analysis of demographic, employment, and infrastructure/accessibility to services data, and for the country profiles. This will be used to assess the pertinence of this typology. However, key indicators covering all three themes and all EU27 NUTS 3 regions will be assembled, so that a new NUTS 3 rural definition and typology may be built upon objective statistical data. IRPUD is responsible for the analysis of the situation of rural areas with respect to basic services and infrastructure. This will be carried out on the basis of the IRPUD transport networks database and other GIS data generated in previous studies. Furthermore, all maps published by the project will be designed at IRPUD.

Contact: Dr. Ing. Christian Lindner

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