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FARM LABOR
May 25, 1999

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


FLORIDA

    The number of workers paid by farmers and agricultural services totaled 63,000 for the week of April 11 through 17. Farmers hired 54,000 workers compared with 55,000 in January 1999 and 57,000 in April 1998. Agricultural services hired 9,000 compared with 12,000 last quarter and 13,000 a year ago. Citrus boxes harvested during the survey week dropped about twenty-one percent below the amount picked in January, and were down about 14 percent from the boxes utilized a year ago. Vegetable shipments during the survey week of April 11-17, were nearly three times higher than the amount shipped during the January survey week.
    The April 1999 all hired worker wage rate averaged $8.20 per hour, 14 cents or two percent below the $8.34 per hour paid last quarter, but 47 cents or six percent higher than the $7.73 per hour paid last year. Farmers paid an average of $8.18 per hour, 13 cents below the $8.31 paid last quarter, but 61 cents higher than the $7.57 paid last year. Agricultural services paid workers an average of $8.30 per hour compared with $8.50 paid last quarter and $8.40 paid last year.

UNITED STATES

    There were 998,000 hired workers on the Nation's farms and ranches the week of April 11-17, 1999, down 1 percent from a year ago. There were 844,000 workers hired directly by farm operators. Agricultural service employees on farms and ranches made up the remaining 154,000 workers. Migrant workers accounted for 8.7 percent of the April hired workforce compared to 6.6 percent last year.

    Farm operators paid their hired workers an average wage rate of $7.84 per hour during the April 1999 survey week, up 35 cents from a year earlier. Field workers received an average of $7.23 per hour, up 23 cents from last April. Livestock workers earned $7.36 per hour compared with $6.99 a year earlier. The Field and Livestock worker combined wage rate was up 26 cents from last year.

    Number of hours worked averaged 39.4 hours for hired workers during the survey week compared with 40.0 hours a year ago.

    The largest increases in number of hired farm workers over last year occurred in California, Northeast II (Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania) , and Appalachian I (North Carolina and Virginia) regions. In California, field activities were delayed earlier in the week. However, by midweek, above normal temperatures and dry conditions prevailed in most areas allowing fieldwork to resume at an active pace. Growers in the Northeast II and Appalachian I regions were active and remained on schedule for field prepara tion and planting. Farmers were busy plowing, discing, spreading lime and manure, spraying, seeding, transplanting, and caring for livestock during the survey week. Additional nursery and greenhouse activity contributed to the overall increase in the Northeast II and Appalachian I regions over last year.

    The largest declines in number of hired farm workers from a year ago were in the Corn Belt II (Iowa and Missouri) and Northern Plains (North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, and Kansas) regions. Saturated field conditions sharply reduced tillage and planting activities in the Corn Belt II region during the survey reference week. In the Northern Plains region, moderate to heavy rainfall slowed field activity in most areas. Producers were limited to repairing equipment, fixing fences, hauling grain, moving cattle to summer pastures, spreading fertilizer, and some small grains seeding where weather allowed.

    Hired farm worker wage rates in all regions were above a year ago. The largest increases occurred in the Northeast I (New England and New York), Southeast (Alabama, Georgia, and South Carolina), Mountain II (Colorado, Nevada, and Utah), and Mountain III (Arizona and New Mexico) regions. Higher wage rates in these regions were primarily attributable to offering higher wages to attract workers in an increasingly competitive economic environment.

REVISIONS: The January 1999 hired workers estimates were revised for the U.S. and California. These revisions were based on additional information received in California as part of the on going Federal, State cooperative program.


Table 1 -- Florida agricultural workers, number of workers, wage
rates, and hours worked, April 11 - 17, 1999, 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/
1999
  April 11 - 17 54 .0 46 .0 8 .0 41 .0 8 .18 7.40 6.90
  January 10 - 16 55 .0 48 .0 7 .0 *39 .1 *8 .31 7.35 7.00
1998
  October 11 - 17 47 .0 42 .0 5 .0 43 .0 7 .82 7.10 7.30
  July 12 - 18 45 .0 40 .0 5 .0 41 .5 8 .08 7.25 6.90
  April 12 - 18 57 .0 43 .0 14 .0 *39 .7 7 .57 6.75 7.20
  January 11 - 17 51 .0 41 .0 10 .0 38 .3 8 .22 7.45 8.00
1997
  October 12 - 18 45 .0 41 .0 4 .0 39 .9 7 .75 7.10 7 .65
  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
HIRED BY
AGRICULTURAL SERVICES

1999
  April 11 - 17 9 .0 38 .0 8 .30
  January 10 - 16 12 .0 35 .0 8 .50
1998
  October 11 - 17 6 .0 30 .0 8 .05
  July 12 - 18 5 .0 32 .0 8 .60
  April 12 - 18 13 .0 40 .0 8 .40
  January 11 - 17 16 .0 30 .0 8 .80
1997
  October 12-18 6 .0 27 .0 8 .30
  July 6 - 12 4 .0 39 .5 8 .10
  April 6 - 12 13 .0 36 .0 8 .44
HIRED BY BOTH FARMERS &
AGRICULTURAL SERVICES

1999
  April 11 - 17 63 .0 8 .20
  January 10 - 16 67 .0 *8 .34
1998
  October 11 - 17 53 .0 7 .84
  July 12 - 18 50 .0 8 .12
  April 12 - 18 70 .0 7 .73
  January 11 - 17 67 .0 8 .33
1997
  October 12 - 18 51 .0 7 .80
  July 6 - 12 44 .0 7 .64
  April 6 - 12 73 .0 7 .39
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.


1
Table 2 -- Number of workers hired by farmers, wage rates, and hours worked,
selected States, April 11 - 17, 1999, with comparisons 1/
Item Florida
California
Texas &
Oklahoma
Arizona &
New Mexico
Hawaii United
States 2/
Thousands
All hired workers
    April 11 - 17, 1999 54 265 51 20 7 844
    January 10 - 16, 1999 55 *240 48 16 7 *705
    April 12 - 18, 1998 57 194 58 19 7 803
Expected to work
  150 days or less
    April 11 - 17, 1999 46 229 37 17 6 657
    January 10 - 16, 1999 48 *191 39 15 6 *568
    April 12 - 18, 1998 43 147 47 15 6 618
   149 days or less
    April 11 - 17, 1999 8 36 14 3 1 187
    January 10 - 16, 1999 7 *49 9 1 1 *137
    April 12 - 18, 1998 14 47 11 4 1 185
Dollars per hour 3/
All hired worker wage rate
    April 11 - 17, 1999 8 .18 8 .06 7 .18 7 .65 10 .93 7 .84
    January 10 - 16, 1999 *8 .31 *7 .97 6 .93 7 .18 10 .80 *7 .94
    April 12 - 18, 1998 7 .57 7 .87 6 .72 7 .02 10 .43 7 .49
Wages by type of worker
  Field & Livestock
    April 11 - 17, 1999 7 .37 7 .32 6 .51 6 .96 9 .38 7 .26
    January 10 - 16, 1999 7 .32 *7 .26 6 .53 6 .75 9 .35 *7 .25
    April 12 - 18, 1998 6 .78 7 .39 6 .25 6 .36 8 .95 7 .00
   Field
    April 11 - 17, 1999 7 .40 7 .22 6 .41 6 .77 9 .45 7 .23
    January 10 - 16, 1999 7 .35 *7 .13 6 .49 6 .66 9 .38 *7 .23
    April 12 - 18, 1998 6 .75 7 .30 6 .20 6 .32 9 .06 7 .00
   Livestock
    April 11 - 17, 1999 6 .90 8 .34 6 .66 7 .58 4/ 7 .36
    January 10 - 16, 1999 7 .00 8 .40 6 .58 7 .06 4/ 7 .31
    April 12 - 18, 1998 7 .20 8 .08 6 .29 6 .52 4/ 6 .99
Average hours per week
Hours worked by all hired workers
    April 11 - 17, 1999 41 .0 *40 .4 36 .1 44 .1 37 .3 39 .4
    January 10 - 16, 1999 *39 .1 *41 .6 38 .4 43 .4 36 .7 *38 .1
    April 12 - 18, 1998 *39 .7 42 .7 39 .7 42 .5 35 .2 40 .0
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.


RELIABILITY OF FARM LABOR ESTIMATES

Survey Procedures: These data were collected by the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) 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 an area sampling frame. 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 NASS list of farms; those not found on the list are included in the labor survey sample to represent all farms. 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 11-17, 1999. The survey in California was jointly conducted with the California Employment Development Department.

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 hired workers at the U.S. level was 5.8 percent. The relative sampling error for the number of hired workers generally ranged between 9 and 20 percent at the regional level. The U.S. all hired farm worker wage rate had a relative sampling error of 0.9 percent. The relative sampling error was 0.9 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 6 percent at the regional levels. Relative sampling errors for wage rates published by type of farm and economic class of farm ranged between 3 and 14 percent at the regional level.

Nonsampling errors can occur in a complete census 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 editing, coding, or processing the data. Special efforts are taken at each step of the survey to minimize nonsampling errors.

Revision Policy: Farm labor information is subject to revision the next time the information is published or the year after the original publication date. The basis for revision must be supported by additional data that directly affect the level of the estimate. Worker numbers and wage rates for April 1998 and January 1999 were subject to revision with this report. Revisions were made and previous data are reprinted in this report for your information. The August 20th report will have information for the survey week of July 11-17, 1999. The report will include the number of All Hired Workers, Average Hours Worked by Hired Workers and the All Hired Worker Wage Rates at the regional and U.S. levels. The wage rate for field, livestock, and combined field and livestock workers will be available for the regional and U.S. level. The number of Agricultural Service Workers and the corresponding wage rates will be published for California and Florida.



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