USDA’s National Agriculture Statistics Service released its newly reestablished farm labor report Thursday. While the number of hired workers was down 5%, the wage rate was one percent higher than one year ago. There were 1,186,000 hired workers on the Nation’s farms and ranches during the week of July 10-16, 2011. Of these hired workers, 836,000 were hired directly by farm operators. Agricultural service employees on farms and ranches made up the remaining 350,000 workers.
Hired worker wage rates were generally above a year ago in most regions. Farm operators paid their hired workers an average wage of $10.90 per hour during the July 2011 reference week, up 11 cents from a year earlier. Field workers received an average of $10.24 per hour, up 15 cents from last July, while livestock workers earned $10.28 per hour compared with $10.15 a year earlier. The field and livestock worker combined wage rate, at $10.25 per hour, was up 14 cents from last year. The number of hours worked averaged 41.3, up 1% from a year ago.
The largest decreases in the number of hired workers from last year occurred in California and in the Pacific, Northern Plains, and parts of the Corn Belt regions. The largest increases in the number of hired workers from last year occurred in the Great Lakes and Appalachian regions and in Florida.