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Media Advisory
Congressional Briefing

March 24, 2004

Policy Implications of Job Losses and Manufacturing Decline in Rural America

Community leaders and researchers will discuss the rate and impact of job loss in the rural county of Robeson County, NC, at a congressional briefing on Tuesday, March 30. One of the nation’s 244 rural counties, Robeson is also one of the 250 poorest counties in the United States. Sponsoring the forum are the American Sociological Association (ASA), in conjunction with co-chairs of the Congressional Rural Caucus Jobs and Economic Development Task Force: U.S. Representatives Mike McIntyre (D-NC), whose district includes Robeson County, and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV).

More than 10,000 manufacturing jobs have been lost in the last 10 years in Robeson County, which previously employed nearly 18,000 people in manufacturing jobs. This rural county’s per capita income is now $13,224. Unemployment insurance payments rose from $8 million in 1994 to $20 million in 2001, but this cannot stem the tide of poverty that is now at nearly 33 percent.

Sociologist Leslie Hossfeld, University of North Carolina-Pembroke, and Mac Legerton, Director of the Center for Community Action (CCA), will report on a study of the impact of the massive job loss on the local economy and the need for business development. They will present federal policy recommendations to save rural jobs and rebuild rural counties in America hit hard by job losses. More than 150 of the Robeson unemployed will also be at the briefing, seeking government support and assistance for rural economic development.

Who: Dr. Leslie Hossfeld, Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of North Carolina-Pembroke, Rev. Mac Legerton, Director of the Center for Community Action in Lumberton, NC, as well as other community organizers and displaced workers

What: Congressional Briefing documenting the impact of the continued loss of jobs and economic decline in rural America and a press conference at 3:00 pm

When: Tuesday, March 30, 2004; 2:00-3:30 pm

Where: 1302 Longworth House Office Building, Washington, DC

Direct media inquiries to CCA’s Mac Legerton (cell: 910-736-5573) or ASA’s Johanna Ebner (202-383-9005), or Lee Herring (herring@asanet.org).

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About the American Sociological Association
The American Sociological Association (www.asanet.org), founded in 1905, is a non-profit membership association dedicated to serving sociologists in their work, advancing sociology as a science and profession, and promoting the contributions to and use of sociology by society.