Limited access to youth employment and low wages encourage young people to leave the community, threatening its vitality. At the same time, increasing numbers of local people, facing the prospects of seeking employment in deteriorating, problem-plagued urban centres, are opting to work where they are rather than uproot families. Although there may be many people with business and mechanical skills and training, they are faced with little opportunity for local employment except farming. Wages are rarely higher than the minimum and repetitive, monotonous work is the rule, with closed ended jobs and inadequate benefits. Those who wish to live in these communities must often accept these jobs or commute great distances to alternative work.
Large scale mechanization of agriculture in many small communities has put many people out of work, while at the same time opportunities for other means of employment are increasingly limited. The harvesting and growing of local crops are seasonal occupations and provide only a fraction of the jobs they once supplied, and expansion is restricted as small farm operators discover that most agricultural development assistance is focused on large enterprises. Efforts to supplement family income are blocked for young mothers, for there are often no day-care facilities available for children under three years of age; as a result, income is less than adequate to meet expenses. Many small town residents migrate to big cities to find better opportunities; this migration affects the entire town. Failure to create opportunities for gainful employment in small communities results in the economic fabric being unable to support the needed development effort.
In 1993, there were at least 100 million peasants (out of a total rural population of 900 million) unemployed. One half of these are seeking jobs in the cities. Increasing areas of land are now left fallow to avoid attracting taxation.