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FARM LABOR
November 26, 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 49,700 for the week of October 12 through 18. Farmers hired 44,000 workers compared with 40,000 in July 1997 and 45,000 in October 1996. Agricultural services hired 5,700 compared with 4,000 last quarter and 7,000 a year ago. The increase from last quarter reflects the usual fall increase in citrus and vegetable work. Growers continued to harvest peanuts, cotton, and soybeans during the survey week. Sugarcane planting was active with the first mill running. Tobacco markets closed on October 16.
    The October 1997 all hired worker wage rate averaged $7.80 per hour, 16 cents above the $7.64 per hour paid last quarter. Farmers paid an average of $7.75 per hour, 15 cents above the $7.60 paid last quarter and 40 cents above the $7.35 paid last year. Agricultural services paid workers an average of $8.29 per hour, 19 cents above last quarter's wage of $8.10, and 99 cents above the $7.30 paid last year.

UNITED STATES

    There were 1.29 million hired workers on the Nation's farms and ranches during the week of October 12-18, 1997, up 5 percent from a year ago. Farm operators directly hired 1,003,000 workers. Agricultural service employees on farms and ranches made up the remaining 283,000 workers. Migrant workers accounted for 11.2 percent of the hired workforce.

    Farm operators paid their hired workers an average wage of $7.31 per hour during the October 1997 survey week, up 34 cents from a year earlier. Field workers received an average of $6.94 per hour, up 36 cents. Livestock workers earned $6.80 per hour compared with $6.57 a year earlier.

    Ideal weather conditions during the survey week of October 12-18, in the central and eastern Corn Belt allowed fall harvest activity to surge ahead of normal. Heavy rains in the central Great Plains slowed row-crop harvest activity. Favorable conditions along the Pacific Coast allowed field work and seedbed preparation to advance. Dry weather in Florida caused citrus caretakers and vegetable producers to irrigate. After heavy early-week rains, breezy, dry conditions allowed for a rapid return to summer crop harvesting and winter wheat planting across the Plains and Midwest.

    In California, ground preparation for planting small grains, forage crops and new alfalfa gained momentum. Rice harvest was virtually complete in the Sacramento Valley and was rapidly winding down in the San Joaquin Valley. Cotton harvest neared completion in the Imperial and Sacramento Valleys, while the San Joaquin Valley harvest was progressing normally. Harvest of grapes for juice and wine slowed but table grapes were still being harvested and packed. The walnut and pistachio harvests were nearly complete. Navel orange and grapefruit harvesting continued. Broccoli and cauliflower harvest continued in the Salinas-Watsonville area. Lettuce harvest in Monterey County was winding down. Harvest of fresh market tomatoes in the San Joaquin Valley progressed normally.

    Most small grains planting has been completed in the Plains of Texas. Cotton producers were well into harvest in the High Plains and North Central Texas, however wet fields at mid-week caused some delays. Corn harvest was winding down in most fields prior to the wet conditions. Cool, cloudy wet conditions slowed final rice harvest operations along the Upper Coast. Sugar beets harvest progressed slowly in the Plains as wet conditions limited fieldwork. Pecan harvest began in many areas.


Table 1 -- Florida agricultural workers, number of workers, wage
rates, and hours worked, October 12 through 18, 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
    October 12 - 18 44 .0 41 .0 3 .0 40 .0 7.75 7.10 7.50
    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
HIRED BY
AGRICULTURAL SERVICES

1997
    October 12-18 5 .7 27 .2 8.29
    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 7 .0 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
1997
    October 12 - 18 49 .7 7.80
    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
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, October 12 through 18, 1997, with comparisons 1/
Item Florida California Texas &
Oklahoma
Arizona &
New Mexico
Hawaii United
States 2/
Thousands
All hired workers
        October 12 - 18, 1997 44 220 66 20 8 1,003
        July 6 - 12, 1997 40 227 82 25 7 *1,069
        October 6 - 12, 1996 45 206 63 19 8 935
Expected to work
    150 days or more
        October 12 - 18, 1997 41 145 45 16 7 648
        July 6 - 12, 1997 36 164 54 17 6 689
        October 6 - 12, 1996 40 138 42 17 7 625
     149 days or less
        October 12 - 18, 1997 3 75 21 4 1 355
        July 6 - 12, 1997 4 63 28 8 1 *380
        October 6 - 12, 1996 5 68 21 2 1 310
Dollars per hour 3/
All hired worker wage rate
        October 12 - 18, 1997 7 .75 7 .55 6 .70 6 .85 9 .98 7 .31
        July 6 - 12, 1997 7 .60 *7 .18 6 .32 6 .99 10 .34 *6 .88
        October 6 - 12, 1996 7 .35 7 .22 5 .85 6 .53 *9 .75 6 .97
Wages by type of worker
    Field & Livestock
        October 12 - 18, 1997 7 .17 7 .13 6 .41 6 .25 8 .55 6 .91
        July 6 - 12, 1997 6 .69 *6 .79 5 .83 6 .29 9 .10 *6 .46
        October 6 - 12, 1996 6 .35 6 .74 5 .56 6 .11 8 .65 6 .58

     Field
        October 12 - 18, 1997 7 .10 7 .06 6 .10 6 .17 8 .49 6 .94
        July 6 - 12, 1997 6 .71 6 .74 5 .60 6 .30 9 .11 *6 .44
        October 6 - 12, 1996 6 .31 6 .67 5 .38 5 .94 8 .60 6 .58

     Livestock
        October 12 - 18, 1997 7 .50 7 .84 6 .73 6 .66 4/ 6 .80
        July 6 - 12, 1997 6 .60 7 .43 6 .17 6 .21 4/ 6 .54
        October 6 - 12, 1996 6 .65 7 .25 6 .00 6 .37 4/ 6 .57
Average hours per week
Hours worked by all hired workers
        October 12- 18, 1997 40 .0 45 .6 38 .8 41 .5 36 .4 40 .9
        July 6 - 12, 1997 41 .5 *46 .4 44 .3 41 .2 37 .6 40 .9
        October 6 - 12, 1996 37 .0 40 .9 41 .2 45 .1 39 .7 40 .6
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.


ANNUAL AVERAGE WAGE RATES

    Included with this report are the annual average wage rates for 1996 and 1997. Annual rates are the averages of the wage rates for each survey week weighted by the total number of hours worked during the week. The survey weeks include the 12th of the month for January, April, July, and October. Combining data for the four survey weeks provides a large enough sample to permit publication of some wages at the State level. Annual average wage rates for both 1996 and 1997 are published at the State, regional and U.S. level for the all hired wage rate, the field worker wage rate, and the combined field and livestock worker wage rate. For 1997, the relative sampling error, at the U.S. level, was 1.0 percent for all hired workers. The relative sampling error was 1.1 percent for the combined field and livestock worker wage rate. The relative sampling error for all hired farm workers and the combined field and livestock worker wage rates generally ranged between 2 and 6 percent at the regional level and 2 to 10 percent at the State level.


Table 3--Annual average wage rates, number of workers, and hours worked, 1997 and 1996 1/ 3/
State and Region Wages Number Hours
Worked
by Hired Workers
by Type of Worker Self
Employed
Unpaid Hired
All Hired Field Field &
Livestock
1997
    Florida 7 .44 6 .76 6 .77 29 .5 5 .3 52 .8 39 .1
    Texas & Oklahoma 6 .30 5 .67 5 .92 222 .5 40 .0 62 .5 40 .9
    Arizona & New Mexico 6 .66 6 .07 6 .08 15 .0 24 .5 19 .0 42 .0
    California 7 .32 6 .79 6 .87 38 .8 6 .3 188 .8 43 .6
    Hawaii 10 .13 8 .81 8 .83 3 .0 1 .0 7 .0 36 .7
    United States 2/ 7 .36 6 .66 6 .64 1,527 .5 463 .2 879 .0 40 .0
1996
    Florida 7 .30 6 .29 6 .36 29 .0 5 .3 46 .3 38 .0
    Texas & Oklahoma 6 .01 5 .29 5 .48 223 .8 53 .3 61 .0 42 .4
    Arizona & New Mexico 6 .42 5 .70 5 .82 15 .0 24 .5 19 .0 47 .4
    California 7 .01 6 .44 6 .53 47 .8 9 .3 194 .5 43 .3
    Hawaii 9 .83 8 .61 8 .62 3 .0 1 .0 7 .3 37 .5
    United States 2/ 6 .78 6 .34 6 .33 1,533 .0 477 .0 832 .0 40 .3
1/ Excludes Agricultural Service Workers.
2/ Excludes AK.
3/ Annual rates are averages of the published wage rates for each survey week weighted by the number of hours worked during the week. The annual average for all States, Regions, and the U.S. is based on data collected for January, April, July, and October.


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