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California Agricultural Employment in 2020
July 10, 2020Employment in California fell in spring 2020 compared with spring 2019. Employment in May 2020 was 15.5 million, down 16 percent from 18.5 million in May 2019. After beginning the year higher than in 2019, California’s agricultural employment fell 20 percent in April-May 2020 compared to year-earlier levels.
Agricultural employment fell 20 percent in April-May 2020 compared to 2019
Employment in major agricultural counties fell sharply in April-May 2020 compared to year-earlier levels. Fresno county’s agricultural employment was 48,100 in May 2020, down six percent from 51,100 in May 2019, Kern county’s agricultural employment was 44,000, down 30 percent from 62,500 in May 2019, and Monterey county’s agricultural employment was 41,300, down 36 percent from 64,800 in May 2019.
Agricultural employment in Monterey was 36 percent lower in May 2020
DOL certified 23,321 jobs in California to be filled by H-2A workers in FY19. The H-2A program in California follows two rules of two thirds: • Two thirds of H-2A jobs were in six counties, led by Monterey with over a quarter and Santa Barbara with 10 percent of jobs certified • Over two-thirds of H-2A jobs were with farm labor contractors, including a third with the California’s largest H-2A employer, Fresh Harvest
Two-thirds of H-2A Jobs Certified in California in FY19 were in 6 Counties
During the first six months of FY20, the same six counties accounted for two-thirds of H-2A jobs certified. As in FY19, FLCs accounted for 90 percent of the jobs certified in Monterey county, and less than half in Imperial county. Job certification data emphasize that most H-2A workers are in coastal counties with high-value commodities and high housing costs and near the border, where frequent Border Patrol checks require employers to hire legal workers.
H-2A Jobs Certified in FY20 (October 2019-March 2020)
Monterey county had ¼ of California’s H-2A Jobs
Monterey county had 1/4 of California’s H-2A Jobs