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FARM LABOR
August 19, 1997

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


FLORIDA

    The number of workers hired by farmers and agricul tural services totaled 44,000 for the week of July 6 through 12. Farmers hired 40,000 workers compared with 60,000 in April 1997 and 43,000 in July 1996. Agricultural services hired 4,000 compared with 13,000 last quarter and 3,500 a year ago. The decrease from last quarter reflects the usual summer slow- down for citrus and vegetable work. Daily showers during the survey week delayed hay baling and land preparations for fall vegetable planting in some areas. Tobacco harvesting was active with markets opening on July 22.
    The July 1997 all hired worker wage rate averaged $7.64 per hour, 25 cents above the $7.39 per hour paid last quarter. Farmers paid an average of $7.60 per hour, 41 cents above the wage paid last quarter and 21 cents above the $7.39 paid last year. Agricultural services paid workers an average of $8.10 per hour compared with $8.44 paid last quarter. The survey for July 1996 had insufficient data to establish a wage paid by agricultural services.


UNITED STATES

    There were 1.41 million hired workers on the Nation's farms and ranches during the week of July 6-12, 1997, 5 percent more than last year. There were 1.07 million hired directly by farm operators. Agricultural service employees on farms and ranches made up the remaining 340,000 workers. Migrant workers accounted for 10.8 percent of the hired workforce, compared to 13.1 percent a year ago.

    Farm operators paid their hired workers an average wage of $6.90 per hour during the July 1997 survey week, up 35 cents from a year earlier. Field workers received an average of $6.45 per hour, up 29 cents. Livestock workers earned $6.54 per hour compared with $6.20 a year earlier.

    During the survey week of July 6-12, 1997, dry weather reduced topsoil moisture from Iowa and Missouri eastward to the Middle Atlantic region. Warm, dry weather provided ideal weather for winter wheat harvest in an area extending from Colorado eastward to Indiana. Meanwhile, beneficial rains dampened the northern Corn Belt. Showers also occurred in the Northwest. On the Plains, scattered thunderstorms caused only brief winter wheat harvest delays. Ideal harvest conditions prevailed on the central High Plains, although long-term drought persisted. Across the Nation's southern States, near-normal temperatures and occasional rainfall prevailed. Cool air cloaked the Midwest and North east. Beneficial showers fell along the northern tier of States in the eastern United States. Late in the week, scattered, locally severe thunderstorms hit the Central States, but in the central Corn Belt little rain was received. Temperatures were seasonable and favorable for crop development throughout the East and South. In California, field activities progressed under normal weather conditions in most areas. Small grain harvest was nearly complete as harvested land was being prepared for double cropping. Sugar beet harvest was progressing normally. Cotton growers were continuing pesticide treatments. Some early plantings of corn were cut for silage. Field corn harvest was underway in the Imperial Valley. Fruit, melon, and citrus harvest continued in the northern San Joaquin Valley. Vegetable harvest progressed in the coastal areas. In Texas, irrigation resumed in the Plains and small grain harvest reached full speed. Haying activity slowed in wetter areas. Vegetable harvest in the High Plains continued with some delays early in the week due to wet conditions.


Table 1 -- Florida agricultural workers, number of workers, wage
rates, and hours worked, July 6 through 12, 1997, with comparisons
Employer, Year, and
survey week
Hired by farm operators    
Number of workers Hours
Worked
Per
Week
Wages Paid by Type of Work
All Expected to work All Field Livestock
150 days
or more
149 days
or less
HIRED BY FARMERS Thousands Hours Dollars Per Hour 1/
1997
    July 6 - 12 40 .0 36 .0 4 .0 41 .5 7.60 6.71 6.60
    April 6 - 12 60 .0 52 .0 8 .0 41 .0 7.19 *6.51 6.30
    January 12 - 18 67 .0 58 .0 9 .0 35 .5 7.35 6.80 6.80
1996
    October 6 - 12 45 .0 40 .0 5 .0 37 .0 7.35 6.31 6.65
    July 7 - 13 43 .0 38 .0 5 .0 37 .7 *7.39 *6.45 7.10
    April 7 - 13 50 .0 43 .0 7 .0 38 .5 7.05 6.12 7.10
    January 7 - 13 47 .0 40 .0 7 .0 39 .0 7.35 6.80 6.80
1995
    October 8 - 14 60 .0 53 .0 7 .0 35 .5 6.98 6.02 6.40
    July 9 - 15 48 .0 44 .0 4 .0 38 .0 7.80 6.79 6.45
HIRED BY
AGRICULTURAL SERVICES
1997
    July 6 - 12 4 .0 39 .5 8.10
    April 6 - 12 13 .0 *36 .0 8.44
    January 12 - 18 15 .8 37 .0 8.05
1996
    October 6 - 12 6 .9 24 .0 7.30
    July 7 - 13 3 .5 43 .5 2/
    April 7 - 13 10 .0 31 .5 7.68
    January 7 - 13 14 .8 33 .0 8.35
1995
    October 8 - 14 5 .4 31 .0 7.05
    July 9 - 15 1 .9 48 .0 7.76
HIRED BY BOTH FARMERS &
AGRICULTURAL SERVICES
1997
    July 6 - 12 44 .0 7.64
    April 6 - 12 73 .0 7.39
    January 12 - 18 82 .8 7.49
1996
    October 6 - 12 51 .9 7.35
    July 7 - 13 46 .5 2/
    April 7 - 13 60 .0 7.14
    January 7 - 13 61 .8 7.62
1995
    October 8 - 14 65 .4 6.98
    July 9 - 15 49 .9 7.80
1/ Benefits, such as housing and meals, are provided some workers but the values are not included in the wage rates.
2/ Insufficient data.
* Revised.


Table 2 -- Number of workers hired by farmers, wage rates, and hours worked,
selected States, July 6 through 12, 1997, with comparisons 1/
Item     Florida California Texas &
Oklahoma
Arizona &
New Mexico
Hawaii     United
States 2/
Thousands
All hired workers
        July 6 - 12, 1997 40 227 82 25 7 1,068
        April 6 - 12, 1997 60 171 55 16 6 809
        July 7 - 13, 1996 43 235 70 20 7 1,015
Expected to work
    150 days or more
        July 6 - 12, 1997 36 164 54 17 6 689
        April 6 - 12, 1997 52 147 44 14 5 *655
        July 7 - 13, 1996 38 165 50 17 6 652
     149 days or less
        July 6 - 12, 1997 4 63 28 8 1 379
        April 6 - 12, 1997 8 24 11 2 1 *154
        July 7 - 13, 1996 5 70 20 3 1 363
Dollars per hour 3/
All hired worker wage rate
        July 6 - 12, 1997 7.60 7.24 6.32 6.99 10.34 6.90
        April 6 - 12, 1997 7.19 7.35 5.98 6.24 *9.98 *7.04
        July 7 - 13, 1996 *7.39 6.82 6.01 6.39 9.85 6.55
Wages by type of worker
    Field & Livestock
        July 6 - 12, 1997 6.69 6.80 5.83 6.29 9.10 6.47
        April 6 - 12, 1997 *6.49 6.99 5.57 5.81 8.82 *6.59
        July 7 - 13, 1996 *6.52 6.42 5.36 5.87 8.74 6.17
     Field
        July 6 - 12, 1997 6.71 6.74 5.60 6.30 9.11 6.45
        April 6 - 12, 1997 *6.51 6.90 5.37 5.78 8.81 *6.64
        July 7 - 13, 1996 *6.45 6.33 5.17 5.80 8.74 6.16
     Livestock
        July 6 - 12, 1997 6.60 7.43 6.17 6.21 4/ 6.54
        April 6 - 12, 1997 6.30 8.06 5.78 5.90 4/ *6.40
        July 7 - 13, 1996 7.10 7.27 5.84 5.99 4/ 6.20
Average hours per week
Hours worked by all hired workers
        July 6 - 12, 1997 41.5 46.3 44.3 41.2 37.6 40.9
        April 6 - 12, 1997 41.0 45.1 40.6 43.2 37.6 *40.5
        July 7 - 13, 1996 37.7 44.7 45.9 50.9 36.1 40.9
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.
*Revised.


SURVEY PROCEDURES

    These data were collected by the National Agricultural Statistics Service during the last two weeks of July 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 July 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 4.0 percent. The relative sampling error for number of hired workers generally ranged between 8 and 21 percent at the regional level. The U.S. all hired farm worker wage rate had a relative sampling error of 1.1 percent. The relative sampling error was .8 percent for the combined field and livestock worker wage rate. Relative sampling errors for the all hired farm worker wage rate generally ranged between 2 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.


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