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FARM LABOR

May 22, 1997

USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service   |  1222 Woodward Street   |  Orlando, Florida 32803   |  407 / 648-6013


FLORIDA: The number of people working on Florida farms during the week of April 6 through 12 totaled 105,200 workers. Of this total 28,200 were operators of farms and agricultural services, 4,000 were unpaid workers, and 73,000 were paid workers. The paid worker total included 60,000 workers hired by farmers, which is ten percent less than the 67,000 workers that farmers hired in January 1997, but twenty percent more than the number that farmers paid in April 1996. Agricultural services hired 13,000 workers, which is eighteen percent below the January 1997 number of 15,800 paid workers, but 3,000 above the April 1996 number of workers hired.
Although a larger amount of vegetables were harvested during the survey week compared to progress during January, the number of boxes of citrus picked fell significantly.
    The April 1997 all hired worker wage rate averaged $7.39 per hour, ten cents below the $7.49 per hour paid last quarter, but 25 cents above the April 1996 wage of $7.14. Farmers paid an average of $7.19 per hour, 16 cents below the wage paid last quarter, but 14 cents above the $7.05 paid last year. Agricultural services paid workers an average of $8.44 per hour compared with $8.05 paid last quarter and $7.68 paid last year.


Table 1 -- Florida hired farm workers including agricultural
service workers, April 6 through 12, 1997, with comparisons
Year and
survey
week
All
farm
workers
Non-salaried Hired by farm operators Hired by Agricultural Services
Self
employed 1/
Unpaid Number of
workers
Expected to work Number of
workers2/
Expected to work
150 days
or more
149 days
or less
150 days
or more
149 days
or less
1997 Thousands
    April 6 - 12 * * * 60 .0 52 .0 8 .0 13 .0 10 .0 3 .0
    January 12 - 18 * * * 67 .0 58 .0 9 .0 15 .8 10 .0 5 .8
1996
    October 6 - 12 * * * 45 .0 40 .0 5 .0 6 .9 6 .0 0 .9
    July 7 - 13 * * * 43 .0 38 .0 5 .0 3 .4 3 .0 0 .4
    April 7 - 13 92 .5 25 .5 7 .0 50 .0 43 .0 7 .0 10 .0 6 .5 3 .5
    January 7 - 13 92 .0 24 .2 6 .0 47 .0 40 .0 7 .0 14 .8 7 .5 7 .3
1995
    October 8 - 14 96 .5 25 .1 6 .0 60 .0 53 .0 7 .0 5 .4 4 .9 0 .5
    July 9 - 15 81 .0 24 .1 7 .0 48 .0 44 .0 4 .0 1 .9 1 .5 0 .4
    April 9 - 15 82 .0 19 .2 3 .0 50 .0 43 .0 7 .0 9 .8 7 .0 2 .8
    January 8 - 14 90 .0 19 .2 3 .0 55 .0 45 .0 10 .0 12 .8 8 .0 4 .8


Table 2 -- Florida wage rates by selected type of worker and method of pay,
including agricultural service workers, April 6 through 12, 1997, with comparisons
3/
Year and
survey week
All
hired
Type of worker Method of pay
Field Livestock 4/ Supervisor Piece rate Per hour only
1997 Dollars per hour
    April 6 - 12 7 .39 6 .71 6 .30 12 .23 ** **
    January 12-18 7 .49 6 .95 6 .80 13 .28 ** **
1996
    October 6 - 12 7 .35 6 .35 6 .65 12 .37 ** **
    July 7 - 13 7 .52 6 .44 7 .10 13 .19 ** **
    April 7 - 13 7 .14 6 .29 7 .10 13 .32 7 .03 6 .38
    January 7 - 13 7 .62 6 .74 6 .25 12 .83 7 .76 6 .49
1995
    October 8 - 14 6 .98 6 .04 6 .40 13 .33 6 .97 6 .00
    July 9 - 15 7 .80 6 .78 6 .45 13 .45 8 .00 6 .90
    April 9 - 15 7 .82 7 .04 6 .20 12 .84 7 .61 7 .21
    January 8 - 14 7 .29 6 .51 6 .25 12 .50 6 .66 6 .75
1/ Includes Agricultural Service operators.
2/ Excludes Agricultural Service operators.
3/ Value of any perquisites provided are not included in wage rates.
4/ Excludes Agricultural Service wages.
*Not estimated this quarter.
**Estimates discontinued.


Table 3 -- Number of hired workers, wage rates, and hours worked,
selected States, April 6 through 12, 1997 1/
Item Florida California Texas &
Oklahoma
Arizona &
New Mexico
Hawaii United
States 2/
Thousands
Hired workers 60 171 55 16 6 809
    Expected to work
        150 days or more
52 147 44 14 5 658
        149 days or less 8 24 11 2 1 151
Dollars per hour 3/
All hired worker wage rate 7.19 7.35 5.98 6.24 9.97 7.10
Wages by type of worker
    Field & Livestock
6.48 6.99 5.57 5.81 8.82 6.63
    Field 6.50 6.90 5.37 5.78 8.81 6.72
    Livestock 6.30 8.06 5.78 5.90 4/ 6.41
Average hours per week
Hours worked by
    All hired workers
40.9 45.1 40.5 43.2 37.6 40.6


Table 4 -- Number of workers, wage rates, and hours worked,
selected States, April 7 through 13, 1996 1/
Item Florida California Texas &
Oklahoma
Arizona &
New Mexico
Hawaii United
States 2/
Thousands
Hired workers 50 185 64 19 7 780
    Expected to work
        150 days or more
43 145 48 16 6 599
        149 days or less 7 40 16 3 1 181
Dollars per hour 3/
All hired worker wage rate 7.05 7.14 6.12 6.34 10.13 6.76
Wages by type of worker
    Field & Livestock 6.27 6.64 5.45 5.74 8.76 6.28
        Field 6.12 6.53 5.38 5.67 8.79 6.31
        Livestock 7.10 7.50 5.53 6.03 4/ 6.22
Average hours per week
Hours worked by
    All hired workers
38.5 43.9 41.6 49.2 37.5 40.7
1/ Excludes Agricultural Service workers.
2/ United States excludes Alaska.
3/ Value of any perquisites provided are not included in wage rates.
4/ Insufficient data for this category; included in all hired wages.


UNITED STATES; There were 1.02 million hired workers on the Nation's farms and ranches during the week of April 6-12, 1997, 3 percent more than last year. There were 809,000 workers hired directly by farm operators. Agricultural service employees on farms and ranches made up the remaining 207,000 workers. Migrant workers accounted for 6.3 percent of the hired workforce, compared to 7.5 percent a year ago. Farm operators paid their hired workers an average wage of $7.10 per hour during the April 1997 survey week, up 34 cents from a year earlier. Field workers received an average of $6.72 per hour, up 41 cents. Livestock workers earned $6.41 per hour compared with $6.22 a year earlier. During the survey week a formidable high-pressure system chilled the Nation. Weekly temperatures averaged 10 to 25 degrees F below normal throughout the Plains and Midwest. Despite the chill, major flooding continued in the Red and upper Mississippi River basins. Cooler-than-normal conditions also encompassed virtually all the rest of the Nation. After midweek, there were significant snow accumulations from the Central Plains into the Midwest. Heavy rains ranged from southern Kansas to northern Texas. Farther east, scattered showers were from southern Texas to the lower Ohio Valley, but heavy rainfall soaked the lower Delta region. Later in the week, rain spread into the East with scattered thunderstorms active in the Southeast. Early week blizzard conditions went across the North Central States. Midweek snow developed on parts of the central Plains. In California, cotton planting continued while small grain fields continued to head out. Alfalfa and oat acreage were cut for hay or green chopped. Early irrigation was underway in orchards and vineyards due to the continued dry spring. Lemons, grapefruit and oranges were harvested. Leaf and head lettuce harvest were at their peak in Fresno County. Broccoli, cauliflower, sugar peas, and green onions were harvested. Summer vegetables and melons were planted. In Texas, a few corn fields were planted in the High Plains while other planting took place along the Upper Coast. Cotton planting was slowly increasing in parts of the central areas. Recent heavy rains in many southern and coastal areas will cause replanting to occur. In the Rio Grande Valley, wet fields have slowed harvest of onions and other vegetables.

SURVEY PROCEDURES: These data were collected by the National Agricultural Statistics Service during the last two weeks of April using sampling procedures to ensure every employer of agricultural workers had a chance of being selected. Two samples of farm operators are selected. First, NASS maintains a list of farms that hire farm workers. Farms on this list are classified by size and type. Those expected to employ large numbers of workers are selected with greater frequency than those hiring few or no workers. A second sample consists of segments of land scientifically selected from aerial photography. Each June, highly trained interviewers locate each selected land segment and identify every farm operating land within the sample segment's boundaries. The names of farms found in these area segments are matched against the list of farms; those not found on the list are included in the labor survey sample to represent all farms not on the NASS list. This methodology is known as multiple frame sampling, with an area sample used to measure the incompleteness of the list. Additionally, a list of agricultural service firms was sampled in California and Florida. The survey reference week was April 6-12, 1997.

RELIABILITY: Two types of errors, sampling and nonsampling, are possible in an estimate based on a sample survey. Both types affect the "precision" of the estimates. Sampling error occurs because a complete census is not taken. The sampling error measures the variation in estimates from the average of all possible samples. An estimate of 100 with a sampling error of 1 would mean that chances are 19 out of 20 that the estimates from all possible samples averaged together would be between 98 and 102; which is the survey estimate, plus or minus two times the sampling error. The sampling error expressed as a percent of the estimate is called the relative sampling error. The relative sampling error for number of all hired workers at the U.S. level was 4.1 percent. The relative sampling error for number of hired workers generally ranged between 8 and 20 percent at the regional level. The U.S. all hired farm worker wage rate had a relative sampling error of 3.1 percent. The relative sampling error was 2.4 percent for the combined field and livestock worker wage rate. Relative sampling errors for the all hired farm worker wage rate generally ranged between 3 and 8 percent at the regional level. Relative sampling errors for wage rates published by type of farm and economic class of farm ranged between 2 and 10 percent at the regional level. Nonsampling errors can occur in complete censuses as well as in sample surveys. They are caused by the inability to obtain correct information from each operation sampled, differences in interpreting questions or definitions, and mistakes in coding or processing the data. Special efforts are taken at each step of the survey to minimize nonsampling errors.


Table 5 -- Number of hired workers, wage rates, and hours worked,
selected States, January 12 through 18, 1997 1/
Item Florida California Texas &
Oklahoma
Arizona &
New Mexico
Hawaii United
States 2/
Thousands
    Hired workers 67 137 47 15 7 635
        Expected to work
            150 days or more
58 109 38 13 6 537
            149 days or less 9 28 9 2 1 98
Dollars per hour 3/
    All hired worker wage rate 7.35 7.10 6.11 6.36 10.32 7.19
    Wages by type of worker
        Field & Livestock
6.80 6.25 5.81 5.84 8.87 6.57
            Field 6.80 6.04 5.56 5.82 8.85 6.60
            Livestock 6.80 7.50 5.97 5.90 4/ 6.52
Average hours per week
Hours worked by
    All hired workers
35.5 34.0 38.5 42.6 35.5 36.5
1/ Excludes Agricultural Service workers.
2/ United States excludes Alaska.
3/ Value of any perquisites provided are not included in wage rates.
4/ Insufficient data for this category; included in all hired wages.


Agricultural Services

    Crew leaders and custom crews provided 207,000 workers for the Nation's farms and ranches during the week of April 6-12, 1997, the same as a year ago. Service workers in California numbered 90,000 compared with 63,000 during the April 1996 survey week.

    The average wages received by agricultural service workers in California was $7.21 per hour. Comparable wages in April 1996 were $6.58.


Table 6-Agricultural Services: Number of workers, average wage rates, and average
hours worked, California and Florida, April 6 through 12, 1997, with comparisons 1/
Year and
survey week
Florida California
Number of
workers
Average
wage 2/
Average
hours worked
Number of
workers
Average
wage 2/
Average
hours worked
Dollars
per hour
Per week Dollars
per hour
Per week
1997
    April 6 - 12 13,000 8.44 35.7 90,000 7.21 39.3
    January 12-18 15,800 8.05 37.0 50,000 7.10 32.0 3/
1996
    October 6 - 12 7,000 7.30 24.0 88,000 6.63 36.3
    July 7 - 13 3,500 * 43.5 98,000 7.17 40.0
    April 7 - 13 10,500 7.68 31.5 63,000 6.58 38.2
    January 7 - 13 15,000 8.35 33.0 51,000 6.39 39.1
1995
    October 8 - 14 5,500 7.05 31.0 98,000 6.93 33.0
    July 9 - 15 2,000 7.76 48.0 93,000 6.42 41.4
    April 9 - 15 10,000 7.58 35.0 91,000 6.39 31.9
    January 8 - 14 13,000 6.81 37.0 54,000 6.70 31.5
1994
    October 9 - 15 7,500 7.50 30.0 91,000 6.40 39.3
    July 10 - 16 4,200 6.83 48.0 87,000 5.99 38.6
    April 10 - 16 25,200 8.22 33.0 75,000 6.32 40.2
1/ Data in this table are for Agricultural Services performed on the farm by custom service units such as crew leaders or custom crews.
2/ Value of any perquisites provided are not included in wage rates.
3/ Revised.
*Insufficient data.


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