- The average farm worker makes $9.06 an hour, compared to $16.75 for non-farm production workers.
- Real wages for farm workers increased one-half of one percent (.5 percent) a year on average between 2000 and 2006. If there were a shortage, wages would be rising much more rapidly.
- Farm worker earnings have risen more slowly in California and Florida (the states with the most fruit and vegetable production) than in the United States as a whole.
- The average household spends only about $1 a day on fresh fruits and vegetables.
- Labor costs comprise only 6 percent of the price consumers pay for fresh produce. Thus, if farm wages were allowed to rise 40 percent, and if all the costs were passed on to consumers, the cost to the average household would be only about $8 a year.
- Mechanization could offset higher labor costs. After the “Bracero” Mexican guestworker program ended in the mid-1960s, farm worker wages rose 40 percent, but consumer prices rose relatively little because the mechanization of some crops dramatically increased productivity.
Monday, November 5, 2007
The Center for Immigration Studies has a new report on farm labor in the US. The report's skeptical about the claims of a "labor shortage" in farming. Some key details: