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Rural Migration Blog

November 2019

Workers on Mexico’s Export Farms

About 6.5 million workers are employed in Mexico’s agricultural sector, including 3.5 million self-employed farmers and their family members. There are three million hired workers, including two million employed in Mexican states that produce farm goods primarily for Mexican consumers and a million in states that produce farm goods to export, primarily to the US.

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Farm Subsidies and Farm Trade

Most countries subsidize their farmers, transferring money from taxpayers and consumers to agricultural producers via income and price supports and restrictions on imports. Among countries with annual farm sales of $30 billion or more, Indonesia has the highest Total Support Estimate, representing transfers from taxpayers and consumers to farmers as a share of GDP, followed by China, Turkey, and Korea. The EU, Mexico, and the US have similar TSE rates, while Ukraine has a negative TSE, meaning that the government taxes agriculture.

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Global Trade in Farm Goods: Top 20 Countries

The value of the world’s farm output is $5 trillion or six percent of the world’s $80 trillion GDP. About $1 trillion worth of farm goods are traded between countries, making the value of farm trade about six percent of the $20 trillion of annual trade in goods.

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California: Seven of the most unequal cities

Wage inequality has risen in the US, and especially in California, which has seven of the 10 most unequal metro areas in the US. The wages of workers at the 90th percentile of earners are 65 to 79 percent higher than the wages of workers at the 10th percentile of earners in cities from San Diego to San Jose, making the so-called 90/10 ratio 6.5 to 7.9 for the most unequal California cities.

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DOL Certified 258,000 Jobs in FY19

The US Department of Labor certified almost 258,000 jobs to be filled with H-2A workers in FY19, up six percent from 243,000 in FY18. There is no limit on the number of H-2A workers who can be admitted; the number of H-2A jobs certified has risen from less than 50,000 in FY05.

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