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Northern Plains Farm Labor Earns $14.02/Hour
Kansas Ag Connection - 05/19/2017

In the Northern Plains Region (Kansas, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota) there were 32,000 workers hired directly by farm operators on farms and ranches during the week of April 9-15, 2017, down 6 percent from the April 2016 reference week, according to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. Workers numbered 27,000 during the week of January 8-14, 2017, down 10 percent from the January 2016 reference week.

Farm operators paid their hired workers an average wage of $14.02 per hour during the April 2017 reference week, up slightly from the April 2016 reference week. Field workers received an average of $14.81 per hour, up 71 cents. Livestock workers earned $12.47 per hour compared with $13.08 a year earlier. The field and livestock worker combined wage rate, at $13.55, was up 5 cents from the April 2016 reference week. Hired laborers worked an average of 40.2 hours during the April 2017 reference week, compared with 42.0 hours worked during the April 2016 reference week.

Farm operators in the Northern Plains Region paid their hired workers an average wage of $14.13 per hour during the January 2017 reference week, up 1 percent from the January 2016 reference week. Field workers received an average of $14.76 per hour, up 37 cents. Livestock workers earned $12.77 per hour, down 6 cents. The field and livestock worker combined wage rate, at $13.50, was up 20 cents from the 2016 reference week. Hired laborers worked an average of 38.4 hours during the January 2017 reference week, compared with 41.4 hours worked during the January 2016 reference week.

There were 673,000 workers hired directly by farm operators on the Nation's farms and ranches during the week of April 9-15, 2017, down 4 percent from the April 2016 reference week. Workers hired directly by farm operators numbered 533,000 during the week of January 8-14, 2017, down 8 percent from the January 2016 reference week.

Farm operators paid their hired workers an average wage of $13.23 per hour during the April 2017 reference week, up 4 percent from the April 2016 reference week. Field workers received an average of $12.22 per hour, an increase of 2 percent. Livestock workers earned $12.53 per hour, up 4 percent. The field and livestock worker combined wage rate, at $12.32 per hour, was up 3 percent from the 2016 reference week. Hired laborers worked an average of 40.4 hours during the April 2017 reference week, equaling the hours worked during the April 2016 reference week.

Farm operators paid their hired workers an average wage of $13.43 per hour during the January 2017 reference week, up 5 percent from the January 2016 reference week. Field workers received an average of $12.15 per hour, up 3 percent, while livestock workers earned $12.66 per hour, up 5 percent from a year earlier. The field and livestock worker combined wage rate, at $12.35 per hour, was up 4 percent from the January 2016 reference week. Hired laborers worked an average of 38.0 hours during the January 2017 reference week, compared with 38.8 hours worked during the January 2016 reference week.

For the April 2017 reference week, the largest percentage increases in the number of hired workers from the 2016 reference week occurred in the Florida, Northeast II (Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania), and Southeast (Alabama, Georgia, and South Carolina) regions. The Southeast region saw the largest increase, with 36 percent more workers on the region's farms.

The largest percentage decreases in the number of hired workers from the 2016 reference week occurred in the Cornbelt I (Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio), Lake (Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin), and Southern Plains (Oklahoma and Texas) regions. Cornbelt I saw the biggest decline, with workers down 23 percent from the 2016 reference week. The largest percentage increases in average wage rates for all hired workers occurred in the Appalachian I (North Carolina and Virginia), Hawaii, and Northeast I (Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont) regions.

For the January 2017 reference week, the largest percentage increases in the number of hired workers from the 2016 reference week occurred in the Appalachian II (Kentucky, Tennessee, and West Virginia), Northeast II (Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania), and Southeast (Alabama, Georgia, and South Carolina) regions. The Southeast region saw the largest increase, with 41 percent more workers on the region's farms.

The largest percentage decreases in the number of hired workers from the 2016 reference week occurred in the Lake (Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin), Mountain III (Arizona and New Mexico), Pacific (Oregon and Washington), and Southern Plains (Oklahoma and Texas) regions. Pacific saw the biggest decline, with workers down 27 percent from the 2016 reference week. The largest percentage increases in average wage rates for all hired workers occurred in the Appalachian I (North Carolina and Virginia), Mountain I (Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming), Northeast I (Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont), and Southern Plains regions.

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