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Farm Labor & Rural Migration News Blogs

US: 45 million Foreign-born Residents in 2021

October 10, 2023

The US had 45 million foreign-born residents in 2021, including a quarter who were born in Mexico and a quarter who were unauthorized; half of the unauthorized were born in Mexico. A third of foreign-born US residents are from Mexico and Central America, and almost a third are from Asia.

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ANZ: Migrants and Sending Countries

October 10, 2023

Australia and New Zealand (ANZ) recruit seasonal farm workers in Pacific Island Countries (PICs) whose populations range from less than 25,000 to almost 10 million. These farm guest worker programs aim for win-win outcomes, viz, filling vacant jobs in ANZ and generating higher incomes for migrant workers that benefit migrant families and home communities and countries.

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AEWRs, Piece Rates, and H-2As

October 10, 2023

The H-2A program allows farmers who anticipate labor shortages to be certified by DOL to recruit and employ H-2A workers to fill seasonal jobs that generally last up to 10 months. Farmers must offer and pay the highest of four wages to H-2A workers and US workers in corresponding employment, the federal or state minimum wage, the Adverse Effect Wage Rate (AEWR), the prevailing wage rate (PWR), or the wage negotiated in a collective bargaining agreement.

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CA Farm Employment: Growing and Less Seasonal

October 10, 2023

Employment in California agriculture (NAICS 11) averaged 404,000 in 2020, 10 percent more than average agricultural employment of 367,000 in 1990. Seasonality, as measured by the peak-trough ratio or peak-month employment divided by trough-month employment, fell 22 percent over three decades, from 1.8 in 1990 to 1.4 in 2020.

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US Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Imports

October 10, 2023

The US imports 60 percent of the fresh fruit and 40 percent of the fresh vegetables available to US residents. Mexico is the leading supplier of fresh fruit and vegetable imports.

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ILO: 3.6 billion workers worldwide

July 11, 2023

The ILO estimated that the world’s labor force was 3.6 billion in 2023, including 2.2 billion men and 1.4 billion women. The labor force participation rate, the share of persons 15 and older who are employed or looking for wage work, was 60 percent, including 72 percent for men and 47 percent for women. Some 3.4 billion workers were employed and 200 million were unemployed, making the global unemployment rate six percent.

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Foreign Workers and US Labor Supply

July 11, 2023

Labor markets are physical or virtual places and spaces where employers find workers and workers find jobs. Employers and workers can meet physically, as with day labor markets where workers congregate to be hired by contractors for the day, or online as with internet platforms and zoom interviews. Job search is costly for workers, and hiring and training workers is expensive for employers, so employers and workers invest to ensure good and persisting worker-job matches.

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Trade in Farm Commodities

July 11, 2023

The value of US farm exports exceeded the value of US farm imports between 1990 and 2020. The value of US farm imports is rising faster than the value of US farm exports, leading to farm trade deficits that are projected to widen.

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World Bank: More Migration

July 11, 2023

The World Bank’s 2023 World Development Report estimated that almost 300 million people were international migrants in 2023, including 260 million or 85 percent who were in the labor force of their host country. The foreign-born share of residents in high-income countries almost tripled from five percent in 1960 to 15 percent in 2020.

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H-2A Program Expands in 2023

July 11, 2023

The H-2A program expanded in FY23. DOL certified 13,500 applications to fill 212,000 jobs with H-2A workers in the first two quarters of FY23, up from 12,000 applications to fill 193,000 jobs with H-2A workers in the first half of FY22, up 10 percent. H-2A job certifications may surpass peak mid-1950s Bracero admissions of 455,000 before 2025.

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