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The Handbook of Service Industries

Edited by John R. Bryson and Peter W. Daniels

Service activities are now acknowledged as key players in economic development, societal change and public policy worldwide. This exciting Handbook not only contributes to ongoing conceptual debates about the nature of service-led economies and societies; it also pushes back the frontiers of current critical thinking about the role of service activities in urban and regional development and the important research agendas that remain to be addressed.
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Chapter 8: Services and Regional Development in the United States

William B. Beyers


William B. Beyers Introductory comments This chapter presents an overview of the development of the service economy in the United States. At the moment, the United States is the world’s largest economy – as measured by gross national product – and it is also the world’s largest service economy. Threequarters of the workforce in the United States are currently employed in the services, a share that is among the highest in all countries. What types of services have been the source of employment growth in the United States, and how important are these services in the overall context of employment change? How have geographic patterns of employment change been associated with the growth of service industries? How has the overall distribution of service employment been changing in the US economy? These questions will be explored in this chapter through the use of employment data that provide useful insights into patterns of regional development driven by service industries in the United States. Documentation of the dynamics of the US service industry will help us better understand the changing role of services as leading agents of change at the regional level, and also to identify regions exhibiting similar patterns of structural change. The growth and development of the service economy will be addressed via a number of themes in this chapter. In the next section some broad national-level statistics are presented on the long-run change in the structure of the US economy. Several themes are explored with regard to the growth and development of...

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