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Rural Migration Blog

Forced Labor and Human Trafficking

October 9, 2019

The Financial Sector Commission on Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking released a report in September 2019 that estimated there were 40.3 million people in modern slavery or victims of human trafficking in 2016, generating $150 billion a year for their perpetrators. SDG 8.7 calls on UN member nations to end modern slavery and human trafficking by 2030.

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DESA: 272 Million International Migrants in 2019

October 9, 2019

The Population Division of the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) reported that the number of international migrants rose by 51 million between 2010 and 2019, from 221 million to 272 million. Migrants were 3.5 percent of the world’s 7.7 billion people in 2019.

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DOL projects US labor force of 171 million in 2028

October 9, 2019

DOL’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released projections of the US economy and labor force in October 2019 that anticipate a labor force of 171 million in 2028 and a labor force participation rate (LFPR) of 61 percent, versus a peak LFPR of 67 percent in 2000. Employment is projected to increase slower, and the LFPR or the share of persons 16 and older who are employed or looking for work is projected to decline, because of the aging US population.

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Mexico’s Agricultural Exports

October 9, 2019

Mexico is a major exporter of fresh fruits and vegetables and other agricultural commodities; most of Mexico’s agricultural exports go to the US. Between 2000 and 2018, Mexico’s agricultural exports to the US rose fourfold to $28 billion, while US agricultural exports to Mexico doubled to $20 billion, giving Mexico an $8 billion agricultural trade surplus with the US in 2018.

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H-2A Prevailing Wage Surveys

October 9, 2019

Farm employers seeking DOL certification to employ H-2Aworkers must offer and pay the higher of the Adverse Effect Wage Rate (AEWR), the prevailing wage in the area, or the federal or state minimum wage. The AEWR is usually the highest of these wages and covers a range of farm jobs in a state or multistate region, while the prevailing wage is for a particular task in a particular area of a state, such as harvesting strawberries in Salinas-Watsonville.

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USDA’s Agricultural or Farm Labor Survey

September 9, 2019

USDA’s Agricultural or Farm Labor Survey collects data on earnings and hours worked of various types of farm workers from a sample of about 6,000 US farm employers for the week that includes the 12th of the month for January, April, July, and October (about half of the 12,000 farms contacted provide data). Employers report total wages paid and the number of hours worked for directly hired workers, including paid family members, and separate these hired workers into workers who will be employed on the farm for more than 150 days and workers who will be employed less than 150 days.

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COA Farm Labor Expenditures 2017

September 9, 2019

The Census of Agriculture collects data from farm employers on their expenditures for (1) directly hired labor, including employer payroll taxes and the cost of any employer-provided benefits, and (2) contract labor expenses, which are wages paid as well as contractor payroll taxes, work-related benefits, and other contractor expenses and profits.

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The H-2A Program and AEWRs: FLS and OES

September 9, 2019

The H-2A program allows farmers who satisfy US recruitment, housing, and wage obligations to employ guest workers in seasonal jobs, generally up to 10 months. The wage obligation is to offer and pay US and H-2A workers the higher of the federal or state minimum wage, the prevailing wage for the commodity and area, the collectively bargained wage, or the Adverse Effect Wage Rate (AEWR).

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The H-2A Program and AEWRs

September 9, 2019

The H-2A program allows farmers to recruit and employ foreign workers if there are not sufficient US workers who are “able, willing, and qualified” to fill their seasonal farm jobs, and if the presence of H-2A foreign workers will not adversely affect the wages and working conditions of US farm workers.

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H-2A Program Continues to Expand

September 9, 2019

The H-2A program continues to expand. Over 206,000 farm jobs were certified to be filled with H-2A workers during the first three quarters of FY19, up seven percent from 193,000 in FY18. Most jobs are certified between January and June, two thirds of the 243,000 in FY18. The US Department of Labor (DOL) certified 171,000 H-2A jobs between January and June 2019, which suggests that total certifications for FY19 could top 255,000.

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