The nation's farms were supplying 807,000 hired workers with jobs during the week of Jan. 9-15, up 1% from the same period a year ago, according to USDA's Farm Labor report, release Feb 17. The wage rates of these workers were up 2% for the week, compared to a year ago.
The category of farm workers in the report referred to as "All Hired Workers," received an average pay of $11.29 per hour during the reference week, compared to $11.08 per hour in 2010.
The average pay for All Hired Workers was up 21 cents from a year earlier. The number of hours worked was also up, averaging 38.9 for hired workers, 5% more than during the comparable week in 2010.
The number of workers in North Carolina and Virginia (known together as the Appalachian I region) was down, however. During the week of Jan. 9-15, 2011, farms in the two-state region had 18,000 workers on them, compared to 23,000 workers during the same week in 2010. The report cited reduced nursery and greenhouse demand as the major reason for the cutbacks.
Wage rates for all hired workers in the Appalachian I region, were up, however. During Jan. 9-15, 2011 all hired workers on farms were paid on average $10.80 per hour, compared to $10.24 per hour for the same period last year.
In the Southeast, including South Carolina, Alabama, and Georgia, the number of workers was up slightly to 25,000 workers during the reference week in 2011, from 23,000 workers during the same week in 2010.
The wage rate for all hired workers on farms in the Southeast was $10.50 per hour in 2011, up $1.10 per hour compared to the $9.40 wage rate in the Southeast for the period in 2010.
West Virginia is classified as in the Appalachian II region, along with Kentucky and Tennessee. There were slightly fewer number of workers in this region, 18,000, for the reference week in 2011, compared to 19,000 workers a year ago.
The wage rate for all hired agriculture workers was down in the Appalachian II region in the latest report. For the week Jan. 9-15, 2011, these workers were paid 9.90 per hour, compared to 11.10 per hour during the same period in 2010.
For the full USDA Farm Labor report, visit http://usda.mannlib.cornell.edu/usda/current/FarmLabo/FarmLabo-02-17-2011.txt.