Nov 15, 2018
NASS report details latest ag labor hiring, pay rates

Released Nov. 15, 2018, by the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), Agricultural Statistics Board, United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), a report details recent agriculture labor hiring and compensation rate.

In October, hired workers were down 7 percent. Wage rate increases were up 8 percent from the previous year.

There were 784,000 workers hired directly by farm operators on the nation’s farms and ranches during the week of October 7-13, 2018, down 7 percent from the October 2017 reference week. Workers hired directly by farm operators numbered 843,000 during the week of July 8-14, 2018, down 4 percent from the July 2017 reference week.

Farm operators paid their hired workers an average wage of $14.47 per hour during the October 2018 reference week, up 8 percent from the October 2017 reference week. Field workers received an average of $13.74 per hour, an increase of 7 percent. Livestock workers earned $13.38 per hour, up 9 percent. The field and livestock worker combined wage rate, at $13.64 per hour, was up 8 percent from the 2017 reference week. Hired laborers worked an average of 41.5 hours during the October 2018 reference week, down slightly from the hours worked during the October 2017 reference week.

Farm operators paid their hired workers an average wage of $14.28 per hour during the July 2018 reference week, up 8 percent from the July 2017  reference week. Field workers received an average of $13.58 per hour, up 8 percent, while livestock workers earned $13.22 per hour, up 8 percent from a year earlier. The field and livestock worker combined wage rate, at $13.48 per hour, was up 8 percent from the July 2017 reference week. Hired laborers worked an average of 41.2 hours during the July 2018 reference week, down slightly from the hours worked during the July 2017 reference week.

The 2018 all hired worker annual average wage rate was $14.17 per hour, up 6 percent from the 2017 annual average wage. The 2018 field worker annual average wage rate was $13.32 per hour, up 6 percent from the 2017 annual average. The 2018 annual average combined wage for field and livestock workers was $13.25, up 6 percent from the 2017 annual average of $12.47 per hour.

October Reference Week

For the October 2018 reference week, only the Lake (Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin) region saw a large increase in the number of hired workers from the 2017 reference week, with 20 percent more workers on the region’s farms. The largest percentage decreases in the number of hired workers from the 2017 reference week occurred in the Delta (Arkansas, Louisiana, and Mississippi), Mountain II (Colorado, Nevada, and, Utah), and Southeast (Alabama, Georgia,  and South Carolina) regions. The Southeast region saw the biggest decline, with workers down 29 percent from the 2017 reference week.

The largest percentage increases in average wage rates for all hired workers occurred in the Mountain I (Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming), Mountain II (Colorado, Nevada, and Utah), and Mountain III (Arizona and New Mexico) regions.

July Reference Week

For the July 2018 reference week, the largest percentage increases in the number of hired workers from the 2017 reference week occurred in the Lake (Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin) and Northern Plains (Kansas, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota) regions. The Northern Plains region saw the largest increase, with 17 percent more workers on the region’s farms.

The largest percentage decreases in the number of hired workers from the 2017 reference week occurred in the Mountain I (Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming), Mountain II (Colorado, Nevada, and Utah), and Southeast (Alabama, Georgia, and South Carolina) regions. The Southeast region saw the biggest decline, with workers down 31 percent from the 2017 reference week.

The largest percentage increases in average wage rates for all hired workers occurred in the Mountain I (Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming), Mountain II (Colorado, Nevada, and Utah), and Mountain III (Arizona and New Mexico) regions.

Access to NASS Reports

NASS reports and products may be accessed in the following ways:

All reports are available electronically, at no cost, on the NASS website: www.nass.usda.gov.

Both national and state specific reports are available via a free e-mail subscription. To set-up this free subscription, visit www.nass.usda.gov and click on “National” or “State” in upper right corner above “search” box to create an account and select the reports you would like to receive.

For more information on NASS surveys and reports, call the NASS Agricultural Statistics Hotline at (800) 727-9540, 7:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. ET, or e-mail: [email protected].





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