January 2009, Volume 15, Number 1
Wages for NC Farm Workers, Level 1 SOC 45-2092, 2008 ($/hour)
The H-2A program was re-engineered for 2009. The changes included a switch in the Adverse Effect Wage Rate from the average hourly earnings of field and livestock workers as determined by a USDA survey of farm employers to a BLS survey of firms that provide support services to agriculture.
North Carolina accounts for 20 percent of H-2A jobs, and the BLS survey is expected to reduce the AEWR. Level 1 wages for most farm workers (SOC 45-2092) ranged from $7 to $8.50 in 2008, and are below the federal minimum of $7.25 (after July 2009) in 10 of the 18 regions. The USDA survey found average hourly earnings of North Carolina field and livestock workers of $9.20 in 2008, the statewide AEWR for 2009 under the old methodology.