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Rural Migration Blog

Nonmetro employment, Covid-19, and meatpacking

May 19, 2020

Rural or nonmetro areas did not rebound from the 2008-09 recession as fast as urban or metro areas. Employment fell five percent in both rural and urban areas between the end of 2007 and the end of 2009. By 2019, rural employment had not yet returned to its 2007 levels, while urban employment was 10 percent higher than in 2007.

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QCEW: Who employs California farm workers?

May 19, 2020

Who employs California’s farm workers? EDD publishes size-of-business data that group businesses or establishments by their number of employees.

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The H-2B Program in 2020

May 19, 2020

There are 66,000 H-2B visas a year available to US employers seeking foreign workers to fill seasonal nonfarm jobs, such as those in landscaping and gardening. Employers typically request over 100,000 H-2B visas, prompting Congress to authorize DHS to increase the number of visas available by 15,000 in FY17 and FY18 and by 30,000 in FY19.

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The H-2A Program in 2020

May 19, 2020

The H-2A program allows farm employers to request certification from the US Department of Labor to recruit and employ foreign workers to fill seasonal farm jobs, generally defined as those lasting up to 10 months. DOL certified 257,666 jobs to be filled with H-2A workers in FY19, when the top five H-2A states, Florida, Georgia, Washington, California, and North Carolina, accounted for over half of all H-2A jobs certified.

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Declining Seasonality in California Agriculture

May 19, 2020

California has fewer and larger farm employers today than in 2000, when 23,600 agricultural establishments hired an average 405,600 workers and paid $7.1 billion in wages, an average $30,000 per farm. In 2018, some 16,800 agricultural establishments hired an average 423,300 workers and paid $14.6 billion in wages, an average wage bill of $86,900 per farm.

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Farm Workers and Paid Sick Leave

April 9, 2020

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (HR 6201) requires private-sector employers with fewer than 500 employees to provide their employees with up to two weeks of fully or partially paid sick leave for COVID-19 related reasons between April 1 and December 31, 2020. DOL, which administers the FFCRA, can exempt employers with fewer than 50 employees if an employer believes that paid leave benefits would jeopardize the viability of the business.

Food Spending and Covid-19

April 9, 2020

Americans spent a record $1.7 trillion on food and beverages in 2018, including $628 billion at supermarkets and $678 billion in all types of restaurants, including taxes and tips. Spending on food in restaurants first exceeded spending for food at home in grocery stores in 2015, and the gap was widening until the coronavirus closed many restaurants in March-April 2020.

Mexican Fruit and Vegetable Agriculture

April 9, 2020

Mexico’s two million farms produce food and fiber for 130 million Mexicans and millions abroad, primarily Americans.

Corn in Mexico and the US

April 9, 2020

Corn (maize) is the world’s most produced grain. Most US corn is used for animal feed and ethanol fuel rather than food. The US produces about 367 million metric tons of corn a year, a third of global corn production of 1.1 billion metric tons. Mexico produces 27 million metric tons a year, three percent of global corn.

Covid 19 and Farm Workers

April 9, 2020

The coronavirus, which likely originated in a food market in Wuhan in Hubei province in December 2019, quickly changed work and personal lives around the world. First in China, and then in many other countries, workplaces and schools closed and people were asked to stay at home to avoid catching and spreading the virus.

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