August 18, 2021
Agriculture and Drought
Most of the 11 western states were in D2 severe drought in summer 2021. The US drought monitor showed that over 90 percent of the land in AZ, CA, NV, and UT was in D2 severe drought, and significant areas were in D4 exceptional drought.
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Alaska: Ag and Fisheries
Alaska is a state of contrasts and superlatives. Alaska is the largest US state in size but one of the smallest in population, with 733,000 residents in 663,267 square miles, 1.1 people per square mile, while Manhattan has 1.6 million residents in 23 square miles or 70,000 people per square mile. With Alaska’s population density, Manhattan would have 25 people.
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ILO: 169 million migrant workers in 2019
The UN estimated 272 million international migrants in 2019, including 245 million who were 15 and older. The ILO estimated that 169 million of the 15+ migrants, 69 percent, were in the labor force of the countries to which they moved, up from 150 million migrant workers in 2013, suggesting an average increase of three million migrant workers a year.
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Unauthorized Migration to the US
The number of unauthorized foreigners more than tripled between 1990 and 2007, increasing from 3.5 million to 12.2 million before declining during and after the 2008-09 recession to an estimated 10.5 million in 2017.
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US food spending in 2020: $1.7 trillion
Americans spent $1.7 trillion on food in 2020, down from $1.8 trillion in 2019. More food was purchased to consume at home in 2020, which is cheaper than consuming food away from home.
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July 16, 2021
California: FLC Employment Down and Wages Up in 2020
Average employment in California crop agriculture rose eight percent from 2001 to 2020, from 345,000 to 372,000. However, direct-hire crop employment (NAICS 111) fell by 15 percent to 160,000, while crop support employment (1151) rose by 35 percent to 212,000. Crop support firms include custom harvesters and farm management companies, but the largest crop support sector is farm labor contractors (115115).
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Covid Will Accelerate Automation
The covid pandemic encouraged many service firms to substitute technology for people to limit people-to-people contacts, such as using order-taking apps in restaurants. Many of the new technologies proved to be successful, which may reduce employment in hotels and restaurants over time as wages rise and employers have difficulty recruiting and retaining hotel clerks and restaurant staff.
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Labor Law Enforcement: FLSA and NLRA
An analysis of the labor law violations detected by federal investigators concluded that US firms can increase their profits by violating minimum wage and other labor laws because the probability of detection is low and the penalties for violations are small. Labor law enforcement depends on tight labor markets that help workers to reject jobs with employers who violate labor laws and empower worker to file complaints with enforcement agencies.
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Peru: Fruit Exporting Superpower?
Peru exported fruit worth $3.8 billion in 2020, making Peru one of the top 10 fruit-exporting countries. Chile is the leading Southern Hemisphere fruit exporter, but the value of Peru’s farm exports exceed those of Ecuador and South Africa.
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USDA Projections to 2030
USDA’s projections of agricultural production and trade during the 2020-30 decade anticipate stable production and prices of field crops such as corn and soybeans, and slightly rising production and prices for milk and meat due to increased demand for these animal products abroad. The US is expected to remain a net exporter of agricultural commodities, but the agricultural trade surplus is projected to decline as fruit and vegetable imports rise faster than exports.
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