Labor Market Characteristics of Agricultural Workers in the United States, 1996-2001

Order Code RL31614 Report for Congress Received through the CRS Web Labor Market Characteristics of Agricultural Workers in the United States, 1996-2001 Updated January 24, 2003 Gerald Mayer Economic Analyst Domestic Social Policy Division Congressional Research Service ˜ The Library of Congress Labor Market Characteristics of Agricultural Workers in the United States, 1996-2001 Summary An issue before Congress is whether to change immigration policy to increase the number of legal foreign agricultural workers in the United States. In 2001, approximately 3.4 million persons were employed in the agriculture industry in the United States, or about 2.4% of the total U.S. labor force. Most persons in the agricultural labor force are native-born, while most foreign-born persons in the agricultural labor force are Mexican-born. From 1996 to 2001, the total U.S. labor force increased by an estimated 7.9 million persons, or 5.9%. During the same period, the agricultural labor force declined by an estimated 340,000 persons, from 2.8% to 2.4% of the total labor force. In 2001, the number of Mexican-born persons in the agricultural labor force was approximately the same as in 1996 (530,000 and 533,000, respectively). Nevertheless, from 2000 to 2001 the number of Mexican-born persons in the agricultural labor force fell from an estimated 611,000 to 533,000. Compared to the overall labor force, men make up a greater share of the agricultural labor force, and an even greater share of the Mexican-born agricultural labor force. The Mexican-born agricultural labor force is significantly younger than the native-born agricultural labor force. From 1996 to 2001, unemployment was greater among Mexican-born persons in the agricultural labor force than among native-born persons. From 2000 to 2001, while the national unemployment rate increased from 4.1% to 4.9%, the unemployment rate among Mexican-born agricultural workers increased from 10.7% to 14.5% and from 4.0% to 4.8% among native-born agricultural workers. In 2001, full-time wage and salary agricultural workers had median weekly earnings of $365, compared to $597 for all full-time wage and salary workers. The median weekly earnings of native-born agricultural workers ($400) were greater than the median weekly earnings of Mexican-born workers ($300). An analysis of changes in employment and median weekly earnings of full-time wage and salary workers suggests that, from 1996 to 2000 (i.e., before the decline in employment from 2000 to 2001), the relative supply of and demand for labor in farmworker and technical occupations were essentially unchanged. In managerial and farming occupations, the analysis suggests that both the supply of and demand for labor increased. Compared to workers in all industries, agricultural workers are (a) more likely to be self-employed (native-born workers are more likely than Mexican-born workers to be self-employed), (b) less likely to have finished high school or graduated from college, (c) more likely to be employed in production, service, and operator occupations, (d) less likely to work year-round, (e) more likely to have annual money income below the official poverty thresholds, (f) less likely to have health insurance, (g) less likely to be unionized, and (h) less likely to hold multiple jobs. Contents Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 Proposed Policy Changes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 Labor Market Analysis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Efficient Labor Markets . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 The Distribution of Earnings . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 Immigration and Competitive Labor Markets . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 Findings . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 Size and Composition of the Agricultural Labor Force . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 Demographic and Social Characteristics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 Gender . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 Age . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 Education . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 Employment Characteristics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 Class of Worker . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 Unemployment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 Median Earnings of Full-Time Wage and Salary Workers . . . . . . . . . 17 Occupation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 Median Earnings by Occupation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21 Union Membership . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25 Full-Time and Part-Time Work . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25 Multiple Jobholders . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26 Other Indicators of Economic Well-Being . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26 Weeks Worked Annually . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27 Health Insurance Coverage . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28 Poverty . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29 Appendix A: Data and Methodology . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30 Appendix B. Data Used in Analysis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32 Appendix C. Median Weekly Earnings of All Wage and Salary Workers . . . . . 45 List of Figures Figure 1. Composition of the Labor Force: Total Labor Force and the Agricultural Labor Force, 2001 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 Figure 2. Gender of the Total Labor Force, Agricultural Labor Force, and Mexican-Born Labor Force, 2001 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 Figure 3. Age Distribution of the Total Labor Force, Agricultural Labor Force, and Mexican-Born Agricultural Labor Force, 2001 . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 Figure 4. Educational Attainment: Total Labor Force, Agricultural Labor Force, and Native- and Mexican-Born Agricultural Labor Force, 2001 . . . 12 Figure 5. Class of Worker of the Agricultural Labor Force and Composition of the Self-Employed Agricultural Labor Force, 2001 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 Figure 6. Unemployment Rates: Total Labor Force, Agricultural Labor Force, and Foreign-, and Mexican-Born Labor Force, 1996-2001 . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 Figure 7. Full-Time Employment: Total Labor Force, Agricultural Labor Force, and Native- and Mexican-Born Agricultural Workers, 2001 . . . . . . . . . . . . 26 Figure 8. Percentage of the Labor Force Employed Year-Round: Total Labor Force, Agricultural Labor Force, and Native- and Mexican-Born Agricultural Workers, 2001 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27 Figure 9. Percentage of the Labor Force With Health Insurance: Total Labor Force, Agricultural Labor Force, and Native- and Mexican-Born Agricultural Labor Force, 2001 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28 Figure 10. Percentage of the Labor Force Below Poverty: Total Labor Force, Agricultural Labor Force, and Native- and Mexican-Born Agricultural Labor Force, 2001 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29 List of Tables Table 1. Median Weekly Earnings of Full-Time Wage and Salary Workers: All Workers and Agricultural Workers, Native-Born, Foreign-Born, and Mexican-Born, 1996-2001 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 Table 2. Occupational Distribution: All Employed Workers and Agricultural Workers, Including and Excluding Self-Employed, 2001 . . . . 22 Table 3. Median Weekly Earnings of Full-Time Wage and Salary Workers by Occupation, 1996-2001 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23 Table B1. Size of the Total and Agricultural Labor Force, 1996-2001 . . . . . . . 32 Table B2. Gender of Total and Agricultural Labor Force, 1996-2001 . . . . . . . . 33 Table B3. Age Distribution of the Total and Agricultural Labor Force, 1996-2001 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34 Table B4. Educational Attainment Among Persons in the Total and Agricultural Labor Force, 1996-2001 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35 Table B5. Class of Worker: Total and Agricultural Labor Force, 1996-2001 . . 36 Table B6. Number of Employed and Unemployed Persons in the Total and Agricultural Labor Force, 1996-2001 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37 Table B7. Occupations of Employed Total and Agricultural Workers, 1996-2001 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38 Table B8. Union Membership and Union Coverage Among Agricultural and All Workers, 1996-2001 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39 Table B9. Number of Full-Time and Part-Time Employed Total and Agricultural Workers, 1996-2001 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40 Table B10. Number of Employed Total and Agricultural Workers Who are Multiple Jobholders, 1996-2001 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41 Table B11. Annual Weeks Worked Among Persons in the Total and Agricultural Labor Force, 1996-2001 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42 Table B12. Number of Persons in the Total and Agricultural Labor Force With and Without Health Insurance, 1996-2001 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43 Table B13. Number of Persons in the Total and Agricultural Labor Force Below the Official Poverty Level, 1996-2001 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44 Table C1. Median Weekly Earnings of Wage and Salary Workers: All Workers and Agricultural Workers, Native-Born, Foreign-Born, and Mexican-Born, 1996-2001 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46 Table C2. Median Weekly Earnings of All Wage and Salary Workers by Occupation, 1996-2001 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47 Labor Market Characteristics of Agricultural Workers in the United States, 1996-2001 Introduction An issue before Congress is whether to change immigration policy to increase the number of legal foreign agricultural workers in the United States. Some proposals would increase the number of legal immigrants by allowing a number of undocumented immigrants to become legal permanent residents, while other proposals would increase the number of legal nonimmigrants by creating a new guestworker program or by making changes in the existing temporary guestworker (H-2A) program for agricultural workers.1 The purpose of this report is to provide information to policymakers considering a new, smaller, or larger agricultural guestworker program.2 The report examines selected labor market, social, and demographic characteristics of the agricultural labor force in the United States for each year from 1996 through 2001. The analysis examines differences among native-born, foreign-born, and Mexican-born workers. The characteristics examined include age, education, earnings, occupation, union membership, weeks worked per year, poverty status, and health insurance coverage. The report analyzes data on wage and salary workers in both the agriculture industry and for all industries combined. The data are from the monthly Current Population Survey (CPS), which is the main source of labor force information for the United States. A detailed description of the data and methods used in the report is provided in Appendix A. In this report, native-born persons are defined as individuals who were born in the United States, Puerto Rico, or other U.S. territory or who were born in a foreign country to at least one parent who was a U.S. citizen. All other persons are defined as foreign-born. Foreign-born persons include both naturalized citizens and noncitizens. The CPS does not ask noncitizens if they are legal or undocumented immigrants or whether they are nonimmigrants who are in the United States 1 For a history of temporary foreign worker programs in the United States, see U.S. Congress. Senate. Committee on the Judiciary. Temporary Worker Programs: Background and Issues. Committee Print, 96th Cong., 2nd Sess. Washington, U.S. Govt. Print. Off., 1980. 2 For a discussion of the labor market effects of temporary agricultural worker programs in the U.S., see CRS Report 95-712 E, Immigration: The Labor Market Effects of Temporary Alien Farm Worker Programs, by Linda Levine. p. 1-6. CRS-2 temporarily (e.g., on business or as students).3 Therefore, in this report the definition of foreign-born persons includes legally admitted immigrants, refugees, and temporary residents, as well as undocumented immigrants. In this report, agricultural workers are persons working in the agriculture industry. The agriculture industry includes crop (e.g., fruits, vegetables, and tobacco) and livestock (e.g., cattle, poultry, and hogs) production as well as landscaping, veterinary, and other agricultural services. The agriculture industry includes the same range of occupations found in the economy at large. Thus, an analysis of the labor market characteristics of workers in the agriculture industry includes persons employed as managers, sales workers, mechanics, machine operators, security guards, laborers, and other occupations. A data source other than the CPS may include a narrower range of occupations. For example, the National Agriculture Workers Survey (NAWS) is a survey of crop workers (see footnote 3).4 Data from the CPS allow comparisons among groups within the agriculture industry as well as comparisons between agriculture and other industries. Because the focus of this report is on the U.S. labor market, it does not examine other social, political, or demographic issues related to guestworker programs. Nor does the report examine the benefits and costs of guestworker programs – to the U.S. government or to state and local governments. Finally, the analysis examines data covering a 6-year period. A study covering a longer, or different, time period may yield different results. Proposed Policy Changes Proposals to change U.S. agricultural worker immigration policy focus on two broad issues: (a) whether to provide some kind of amnesty (i.e., legalization) for undocumented workers in the agriculture industry who are already in the United States and (b) whether to create a new temporary guestworker program to increase the availability of legal agricultural workers. In addition, many policymakers favor changes in the existing temporary agricultural worker program, which is known as the H-2A program and is the only program for legal temporary foreign agricultural workers in the United States.5 Proposals to change U.S. immigration policy include 3 According to the results of the U.S. Department of Labor’s National Agriculture Workers Survey (NAWS) for FY1998, 52% of U.S. farm workers were undocumented workers. The survey defines farm workers as crop workers who are engaged mainly in growing and harvesting farm crops. (Harvest workers are defined to include workers employed in tasks such as field packing, sorting, and grading.) U.S. Department of Labor. Findings from the National Agricultural Workers Survey (NAWS) 1997-1998. p. 2, 22, 30. 4 For an analysis of the labor market for hired farmworkers (i.e., farmworkers employed by growers or by farm labor contractors) that uses data from the NAWS and other sources see CRS Report RL30395, Farm Labor Shortages and Immigration Policy, by Linda Levine. p. 7-15. [Hereafter cited as: CRS Report RL30395, Farm Labor Shortages and Immigration Policy.] 5 H-2A visas are one of several temporary visas granted under the Immigration and (continued...) CRS-3 recommendations to expand as well as proposals to reduce the amount of immigration to the United States. President George Bush and Mexican President Vicente Fox met twice in 2001 and again in 2002, with immigration among the major topics of discussion. In 2001, the two presidents established a working group to develop immigration proposals, including options for a new or expanded guestworker program.6 Undocumented immigrants in the United States reportedly could be eligible for a new guestworker program. Debate about whether to create a new guestworker program or to make changes in the H-2A program lost momentum, however, after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.7 In November 2002, U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell and Mexican Foreign Secretary Jorge Costenada reaffirmed the intention of the two countries to continue talks to reach an agreement on immigration.8 In the 107th and prior Congresses, various proposals were introduced that would have created a new guestworker program, alter the existing H-2A program, or allow undocumented workers in the United States to adjust to legal status.9 Organizations and individuals hold different views on U.S. immigration policy. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce supports a new temporary worker program as well 5 (...continued) Nationality Act (INA). The H-2A program allows employers to hire foreign agricultural workers to perform temporary work, provided there are no U.S. workers available. An H-2A visa may be issued for a period of up to a year. Extensions may be granted for up to a total of 3 consecutive years. No limits are imposed on the number of H-2A visas granted each year. In FY1999 the U.S. Department of State issued 28,560 H-2A visas. CRS Report RL30852, Immigration of Agricultural Guest Workers: Policy, Trends, and Legislative Issues, by Ruth Ellen Wasem and Geoffrey K. Collver. p. 1-5. [Hereafter cited as: CRS Report RL30852, Immigration of Agricultural Guest Workers: Policy, Trends, and Legislative Issues.] 6 The U.S.-Mexico High Level Working Group on Migration includes Secretary of State Colin Powell and Attorney General John Ashcroft of the United States and Foreign Secretary Jorge Castaneda and Interior Minister Santiago Creel of Mexico. Bush Says Plan for Immigrants Could Expand. New York Times, July 26, 2001. p. 1; Compromise 245(i) Bill Passes Judiciary; Bush Considering Earned Citizenship Program. Daily Labor Report, no. 144, July 27, 2001. p. A-5. 7 For a description of prior reporting requirements for foreign students and of changes in these requirements enacted in the 107th Congress, see: CRS Report RL31146, Foreign Students in the United States: Policies and Legislation, by Ruth Ellen Wasem. p. 9-14. For a description of recent changes in the registration rules for nonimmigrants, see: CRS Report RL31570, Immigration: Alien Registration, by Andorra Bruno. p. 4-7. 8 CRS Issue Brief IB10070, Mexico-U.S. Relations: Issues for Congress, by K. Larry Storrs. p. 6-9. 9 For a description of immigration legislation enacted in the 107th Congress, see: CRS Report RS21438. Immigration Legislation Enacted int eh 107th Congress, by Andorra Bruno, p. 1-6. For a description of agricultural guestworker legislation introduced in the 107th and prior Congresses, see: CRS Report RL30852, Immigration of Agricultural Guest Workers: Policy, Trends, and Legislative Issues, p. 8-13. CRS-4 as a legalization program that would allow undocumented workers to become permanent U.S. residents. According to the Chamber, nationals from Mexico and other nations should be allowed to participate in both programs.10 The AFL-CIO supports a legalization program for undocumented workers and favors changes in, but not an expansion of, existing guestworker programs. According to the AFL-CIO, undocumented workers and their families, regardless of country of origin, “who have been working hard, paying taxes and contributing to their communities” should be given the opportunity to become permanent legal residents of the United States.11 The National Council of La Raza (NCLR) also opposes an expansion of the H2A program. However, it is not opposed to a new guestworker program for agriculture and other industries, provided that workers who participate in such a program are covered by U.S. labor laws (e.g., laws relating to wages, working conditions, and the right to unionize). NCLR also favors a program to allow undocumented immigrants to earn permanent legal status.12 The Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) favors the reduction of both legal and illegal immigration to the United States. CIS also opposes a new guestworker program. The CIS argues that immigration increases the number of poor and uninsured persons in the United States and imposes fiscal burdens on federal, state, and local governments.13 An argument is also made that immigration should be reduced because of the environmental impact of a growing population. According to this viewpoint, 10 U.S. Congress. Senate. Committee on the Judiciary. U.S.-Mexico Migration Discussions: A Historic Opportunity. Hearings, 107th Cong., 1st Sess, September 7, 2001. Washington, U.S. Govt. Print. Off., 2002. p. 37. 11 U.S. Congress. Senate. Committee on the Judiciary. U.S.-Mexico Migration Discussions: A Historic Opportunity. Hearings, 107th Cong., 1st Sess, September 7, 2001. Washington, U.S. Govt. Print. Off., 2002. p. 26-27; Immigration. Statement of AFL-CIO Executive Council, July 31, 2001. Available on the Internet at: [www.aflcio.org] (as of December 4, 2001); Immigration. Statement of AFL-CIO Executive Council, February 16, 2000. Available on the Internet at: [www.aflcio.org] (as of December 4, 2001). 12 The NCLR is a private, nonprofit organization whose mission is “to reduce poverty and discrimination and improve life opportunities for Hispanic Americans.” U.S. Congress. House. Committee on the Judiciary, Subcommittee on Immigration and Claims. Guestworker Visa Programs. Hearings, 107th Cong., 1st Sess, June 19, 2001. Washington, U.S. Govt. Print. Off., 2001. p. 27-29. 13 The CIS is an independent, nonprofit organization devoted to research on the impact of immigration on the United States. Krikorian, Mark. Guestworker Programs: A Threat to American Agriculture. Washington, Center for Immigration Studies, June 2001. p. 5. U.S. Congress. House. Committee on the Judiciary, Subcommittee on Immigration and Claims. Guestworker Visa Programs. Hearings, 107th Cong., 1st Sess, June 19, 2001. Washington, U.S. Govt. Print. Off., 2001. p. 16, 23-24. Camorata, Steven. Immigration from Mexico: Assessing the Impact on the United States. Washington, Center for Immigration Studies, July 2001. Center Paper 19. p. 8-10, 57. CRS-5 population growth affects air and water quality, causes more land to be developed, and places greater demands on natural resources – in part, because of higher consumption levels in the United States.14 Labor Market Analysis The issue of immigration can be examined from different perspectives. Changes in U.S. policy with respect to agricultural guestworkers would likely involve changes in the U.S. (i.e., aggregate) labor market and in local or regional labor markets for different occupations. This report analyzes selected labor market, social, and demographic characteristics of the agricultural labor force in the United States. Labor markets can be examined in terms of how changes affect the allocation of labor (i.e., economic efficiency) and the distribution of earnings (i.e., equity). This section describes the basic framework for labor market analysis used in this report. According to standard economic analysis, competitive markets result in the most efficient allocation of resources (i.e., labor, capital, and natural resources). In turn, economic theory holds that an efficient allocation of resources provides the greatest output and consumer satisfaction from a given quantity of resources. Most modern economists believe that, compared to other economic systems, a market economy provides greater incentives to work, save, invest, and innovate. The expected result is a higher standard of living. At the same time, many economists acknowledge that some markets may not fit the model of perfect competition. If markets are not competitive, economic analysis indicates that government action may improve economic efficiency. In addition, a market economy may result in a distribution of income that is socially unacceptable. Governments may also adopt policies that reduce earnings or income inequality. 14 U.S. Congress. House. Committee on the Judiciary, Subcommittee on Immigration and Claims. U.S. Population and Immigration. Hearings, 107th Cong., 1st Sess, August 2, 2001. Washington, U.S. Govt. Print. Off., 2001. p. 29-34. CRS-6 Efficient Labor Markets In general, competitive labor markets are thought to provide the most efficient allocation of labor (i.e., workers and hours worked).15 In practice, many labor markets do not fit the model of perfect competition.16 For example, some employers or workers may be able to influence wages. Some employers may not have sufficient information or equal access to the kind of information needed to make informed decisions about hiring workers. On the other hand, when looking for work, job seekers may not have access to the same information available to employers. Job growth may not be sufficient to employ all persons who want to work. When labor markets depart from the model of perfect competition government intervention may improve economic efficiency.17 But government intervention may not be necessary or desirable. In some cases, departures from perfect competition may be self-correcting. In addition, government policies aimed at improving efficiency may fail to achieve their objectives. Or policies that improve efficiency at one point in time may have little or no effect at another point in time. Changes in U.S. immigration policy might harm the overall allocation of labor if the changes add to total unemployment (e.g., if immigrants leave full- or part-time jobs in their home countries and move to the United States where they are unemployed). Changes in immigration policy might also harm efficiency if ease of entry into the United States is not matched by a similar ease of exit and, perhaps, reentry. On the other hand, economic theory holds that labor mobility can improve the allocation of labor if unemployed workers in another country move to the United States where they are able to find work or if workers move from less productive jobs in their home countries to more productive jobs in the United States. 15 The following are the characteristics of a competitive labor market: (1) There are many employers and many workers. Each employer is small relative to the size of the market. (2) Employers and workers are free to enter or leave a labor market and can move freely from one market to another. (3) Employers do not organize to lower wages and workers do not organize to raise wages. Governments do not intervene in labor markets to regulate wages. (4) Employers and workers have equal access to accurate labor market information. (5) Employers do not prefer one worker over another equally qualified worker (i.e., equally qualified workers are “perfect substitutes”). Workers do not prefer one employer over another employer who pays the same wage for the same kind of work. (6) Employers seek to maximize profits, while workers seek to maximize satisfaction. Reynolds, Lloyd G., Stanley H. Masters, and Colletta H. Moser. Labor Economics and Labor Relations. 11th ed. Englewood Cliffs, N.J., Prentice-Hall, 1998. p. 16-21. [Hereafter cited as: Reynolds et al., Labor Economics and Labor Relations.] 16 Samuelson, Paul A., and William D. Nordhaus. Economics. 13th ed. New York, McGraw-Hill, 1989. p. 677. 17 For a discussion of departures from the model of perfect competition, see: Stiglitz, Joseph E. Economics of the Public Sector. 3rd ed. New York, W.W. Norton & Co., 2000. p. 7685. CRS-7 The Distribution of Earnings Efficient labor markets, or improvements in economic efficiency, may improve the allocation of labor, but the improvements may result in a socially unacceptable distribution of earnings. In competitive labor markets, if the supply of unskilled labor increases relative to demand, the result will generally be a more unequal distribution of earnings. On the other hand, if the demand for unskilled labor increases relative to supply, the result will generally be a more equal distribution of earnings.18 Because wages tend to rise as labor productivity (i.e., the quantity of output per hour) increases, the distribution of earnings may change if the growth in labor productivity is greater in some occupations than in others. Finally, the distribution of earnings may change because of institutional or policy changes, including changes in the minimum wage or the degree of unionization. Immigration to the United States can affect the distribution of earnings in both the United States and in immigrants’ home countries. If skilled workers move to the United States, the distribution of earnings in their native countries may become more unequal, while the distribution of earnings in the United States may become more equal. Conversely, if unskilled workers move to the United States, the distribution of earnings in the workers’ native countries may become more equal while the distribution of earnings in the United States may become more unequal.19 Governments can reduce earnings inequality directly through progressive taxation, income transfers, and subsidized consumption (e.g., for health care or housing) or indirectly by improving the distribution of earnings-producing human capital (e.g., education and training). Improvements in the distribution of earnings may involve tradeoffs with an efficient allocation of labor (e.g., if taxes or transfer payments affect decisions to work or the number of hours worked). Immigration and Competitive Labor Markets In general, individuals may wish to move from one country to another if the expected gain from temporary or permanent immigration exceeds the cost of moving. All else being equal, the expected gain from immigration will generally be greater the larger the differences in earnings between two countries. The expected gain will likely be greater for younger persons, who have more working years to earn higher incomes. In general, the expected cost of moving should be lower the shorter the distance between labor markets. The expected cost of moving should also be less for younger persons, who may have fewer family and other ties to their existing communities. In addition, workers may have greater access to information about differences in wages the shorter the distance between labor markets. Similarly, 18 19 Reynolds, et al., Labor Economics and Labor Relations, p. 24-25. An increase in the relative supply of skilled workers, everything else remaining the same, would reduce the wages of skilled workers relative to the wages of unskilled workers. Conversely, an increase in the relative supply of unskilled workers – again, everything else remaining the same – would reduce the wages of unskilled workers relative to the wages of skilled workers. CRS-8 employers may have greater information about the supply of labor in nearby labor markets.20 Government policies can affect the allocation of labor between countries (e.g., by improving the accuracy and availability of labor market information or by removing barriers or disincentives to employment). But, in a world economy, improving opportunities for employment or easing restrictions on the movement of labor across borders is generally the prerogative of governments in individual countries. Since improvements in economic efficiency may have socially undesirable effects on the earnings of workers in particular occupations, some policymakers may favor policies that limit the overall level of immigration or that limit immigration to workers with specific skills.21 Findings The remainder of this report examines selected characteristics of the agricultural labor force in the United States. First, the report provides an overview of recent trends in the size and composition of the agricultural workforce. Second, the report examines selected demographic and social characteristics of the agricultural labor force, including age, gender, and education. Next, the report examines selected employment characteristics of agricultural workers, including unemployment, selfemployment, median earnings, occupation, and union membership. Finally, the report examines additional indicators of economic well-being, including health insurance coverage and poverty status. For each characteristic, the analysis compares the agricultural labor force with the overall U.S. labor force. Because Mexican-born persons make up the largest portion of foreign-born persons in the agricultural labor force, comparisons of nativeborn and foreign-born agricultural workers are often limited to a comparison of native-born and Mexican-born workers. Appendix B provides extensive detail on each of the characteristics discussed in the text of this report. (The tables in the appendix show details rounded to the nearest thousand. The percentages and other calculations in the text of this report are based on unrounded estimates. Therefore, calculations made from the tables in the appendix may not match the calculations shown in the text.) 20 Filer, Randall K., Daniel S. Hamermesh, and Albert E. Rees. The Economics of Work and Pay. 6th ed. New York, Harper Collins, 1996. p. 255-62. 21 For a review of research on the effect of immigration on the wages and employment of native-born workers, see CRS Report 95-408 E, Immigration: The Effects on Native-Born Workers, by Linda Levine. p. 5-15. [Hereafter cited as: CRS Report 95-408 E, Immigration: The Effects on Native-Born Workers.] CRS-9 Size and Composition of the Agricultural Labor Force In 2001, approximately 3.4 million persons were employed in the agriculture industry in the United States, or about 2.4% of the total U.S. labor force. (See Figure 1.) Although the U.S. labor force increased by 7.9 million persons from 1996 to 2001, in 2001 there were approximately 340,000 fewer individuals in the agricultural labor force than in 1996. Figure 1. Composition of the Labor Force: Total Labor Force and the Agricultural Labor Force, 2001 Agricultural Labor Force (2.4%) Total Labor Force Native-Born (79.4%) Mexican-Born (15.6%) Other Foreign-Born (5.0%) Source: Calculated by CRS from the monthly CPS. Most persons in the agricultural labor force in the United States are native-born, while most foreign-born persons are Mexican-born. In 2001, native-born persons accounted for 79.4% of the agricultural labor force. Mexican-born persons accounted for 15.6% of the agricultural labor force, and 75.6% of the foreign-born agricultural labor force. From 1996 to 2001, the number of native-born persons in the agricultural labor force declined by an estimated 389,000. In 2001, the number of Mexican-born persons in the agricultural labor force was approximately the same as in 1996 (530,000 and 533,000 respectively). However, from 2000 to 2001 the number of Mexican-born persons in the agricultural labor force fell from an estimated 611,000 to 533,000. CRS-10 Demographic and Social Characteristics Gender. Compared to the overall labor force, men make up a greater share of the agricultural labor force. A larger share of Mexican-born than native-born persons in the agricultural labor force are men. (See Figure 2.) In 2001, men accounted for 53.3% of the total labor force, compared to 72.6% of the agricultural labor force. Among persons in the Mexican-born agricultural labor force, 84.4% were men, compared to 69.9% of native-born agricultural labor force. Figure 2. Gender of the Total Labor Force, Agricultural Labor Force, and Mexican-Born Labor Force, 2001 Total Labor Force 53.3% 46.7% Agricultural Labor Force Mexican-Born Agricultural Labor Force 72.6% 84.4% 15.6% 27.4% Men Source: Calculated by CRS from the monthly CPS. Women CRS-11 Age. The agricultural labor force in the United States has relatively more younger and more older workers than the overall labor force. On the other hand, Mexican-born agricultural workers tend to be younger than the agricultural labor force in general. (See Figure 3.) Figure 3. Age Distribution of the Total Labor Force, Agricultural Labor Force, and Mexican-Born Agricultural Labor Force, 2001 65+ 55-64 45-54 35-44 25-34 15-24 0 0.05 0.1 Total Labor Force 0.15 0.2 0.25 0.3 0.35 Agricultural Labor Force Mexican-Born Agricultural Labor Force Source: Calculated by CRS from the monthly CPS. In 2001, the median age of the total labor force was 39 years, compared to 40 years for the agricultural labor force, 42 years for the native-born agricultural labor force, and 34 years for the Mexican-born agricultural labor force. In 2001, 16.3% of the overall labor force was between 15 and 24 years of age compared to 18.4% of the agricultural labor force. On the other hand, 13.4% of the overall labor force was 55 or older, compared to 21.8% of the agricultural labor force. In the Mexican-born agricultural labor force, 53.0% of persons were between the ages of 15 and 34 – compared to 33.5% of the native-born agricultural labor force. CRS-12 Education. Individuals in the agricultural labor force have fewer years of formal education than the overall labor force. In the agricultural labor force, Mexican-born workers have fewer years of education than native-born agricultural workers.22 (See Figure 4.) Figure 4. Educational Attainment: Total Labor Force, Agricultural Labor Force, and Native- and Mexican-Born Agricultural Labor Force, 2001 8 Years or Less 9 to 12 Years High School Diploma 11 to 15 Years College Graduate Advanced Degree 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% Total labor force Agricultural labor force Native-born agricultural labor force Mexican-born agricultural labor force 70% Source: Calculated by CRS from the monthly CPS. In 2001, 32.0% of persons in the agricultural labor force had not graduated from high school (i.e., had not received a diploma), compared to 13.5% of persons in the total labor force. In the agricultural labor force, however, a significant difference existed between native-born and Mexican-born persons. In 2001, 20.6% of nativeborn persons in the agricultural labor force had not graduated from high school, compared to 82.7% of Mexican-born persons. In 2001, 13.0% of persons in the agricultural labor force had a college or advanced degree, compared to 27.2% of persons in the total labor force. Again, among persons in the agricultural labor force, a significant difference existed between native-born and Mexican-born persons: 15.3% of native-born persons in the 22 To the extent that differences exist in the quality of schooling across countries or among schools within the United States, to employers individuals with the same years of schooling may not be “perfect substitutes.” (See footnote 15.) CRS-13 agricultural labor force had a college degree, compared to 1.1% of Mexican-born persons. Between 1996 and 2001, the number of persons in the agricultural labor force with less than a high school degree declined by an estimated 202,000. But the number of native-born persons with less than a high school education declined by approximately 227,000 persons. From 1996 to 2001, the number of Mexican-born persons in the agricultural labor force with less than a high school education was essentially unchanged (447,000 an 441,000, respectively). (See Table B4.) Thus, over the period, foreign-born persons made up an increasing share of persons in the agricultural labor force who had not graduated from high school. Employment Characteristics Class of Worker. Most people in the labor force are wage and salary workers. However, many individuals are self-employed in their own business, trade, or profession. The labor force also includes family members who work without pay on a family farm or family business.23 In 2001, 92.8% of all persons in the overall labor force were wage or salary workers, while 7.1% were self-employed. The remainder (0.1%) were unpaid family members. In the agricultural labor force, on the other hand, 61.6% were wage and salary workers and 37.4% of all persons were self-employed (1.0% were unpaid family members). In the agricultural labor force, native-born persons account for the relatively large percentage of self-employed persons. In 2001, 92.9% of self-employed agricultural workers were native-born (recall that 79.4% of agricultural workers were native-born). (See Figure 5.) 23 More specifically, wage and salary workers are persons who work for a private or public employer. In this report, self-employed persons are persons who are self-employed in an unincorporated business. Unpaid family members are persons who work without pay for 15 hours or more a week on a family farm or business. Persons with more than one job are classified according to the kind of work on their main job. CRS-14 Figure 5. Class of Worker of the Agricultural Labor Force and Composition of the Self-Employed Agricultural Labor Force, 2001 Self-Employed Workers (37.4%) Agricultural Labor Force Native-Born (92.9%) Foreign-Born (7.1%) Source: Calculated by CRS from the monthly CPS. From 1996 to 2001, the share of workers in the total labor force who were selfemployed fell from 8.1% to 7.1%. In the agricultural labor force, the share of persons who were self-employed fell from 41.6% to 37.4%. Several factors may account for the decline in the number of self-employed agricultural workers. A self-employed agricultural worker – who could be an owner, renter, or sharecropper – could retire, take a wage job, or become self-employed in another industry. Another self-employed farmer or an incorporated farm could take over land that had been farmed by a self-employed agricultural worker. A selfemployed owner could convert a farm into an incorporated farm. Or, for some agricultural workers, a wage job may become their main job, while farming becomes their second job. CRS-15 Unemployment. While the size and demographic composition of the labor force provide information on labor supply, unemployment rates provide information on the relative supply of and demand for labor. During the period from 1996 to 2001, the unemployment rate among persons in the agricultural labor force was greater than the national unemployment rate. In addition, among persons in the agricultural labor force, the unemployment rate among foreign- and Mexican-born persons was greater than among native-born persons. In 2001, when the national unemployment rate was 4.9%, the unemployment rate among persons in the agricultural labor force was 6.5%. However, the difference in unemployment rates was due mainly to higher unemployment among Mexicanborn persons in the agricultural labor force. In 2001, the unemployment rate among native-born persons in the agricultural labor force was 4.8%, compared to 14.5% among Mexican-born persons. (See Figure 6.) Figure 6. Unemployment Rates: Total Labor Force, Agricultural Labor Force, and Foreign- and Mexican-Born Labor Force, 1996-2001 16% 14% 12% 10% 8% 6% 4% 2% 0% 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 Total labor force Agricultural Labor Force Native-born agricultural labor force Mexican-born agricultural labor force Source: Calculated by CRS from the monthly CPS. The decline in the national unemployment rate from 1996 to 2000 and the increase in the rate from 2000 to 2001 are reflected in changes in the unemployment rate in the agricultural labor force. From 1996 to 2000, both the national unemployment rate and the unemployment rate in agriculture declined by 1.4 percentage points (from 5.5% to 4.1% and from 6.7% to 5.3%, respectively). However, in the agricultural labor force, unemployment declined by a greater amount among Mexican-born persons (4.5 percentage points) than among native-born persons (1.1 percentage points). (See Figure 6.) From 2000 to 2001, on the other hand, while the national unemployment rate increased by 0.7 percentage points, unemployment among agricultural workers increased by 1.2 percentage points. CRS-16 Unemployment increased more among Mexican-born agricultural workers (3.8 percentage points) than among native-born agricultural workers (0.8 percentage points). Do the higher unemployment rates in the United States among Mexican-born workers imply that immigration harms the allocation of labor? Some evidence suggests that, from 1996 to 1998, unemployment rates in the Mexican-born labor force in the United States were higher than unemployment rates in Mexico. Using definitions of the labor force and unemployment that more closely match the definitions used in the CPS, Martin calculated that the unemployment rates in Mexico for the years 1996 through 1998 were 7.2%, 4.9%, and 4.8%, respectively. These estimates are based on a survey that includes only state capitals and cities of 100,000 or more. The nationwide unemployment rate may have been lower.24 In metropolitan areas of 100,000 or more in the United States, the unemployment rates in the Mexican-born labor force (i.e., employed and unemployed workers in all industries) for the years 1996 to 1998 were 9.8%, 7.2%, and 6.6%, respectively. From 1996 and 2000 (i.e., before the rise in unemployment in 2001), the demand for labor in the United States increased faster than the increase in supply (i.e., the number of persons employed increased more than the number of persons in the labor force). An economic slowdown or recession would likely affect the most recently hired, since layoffs commonly begin with the least experienced workers (i.e., “last hired, first laid off”).25 Nevertheless, differences in earnings and job growth are probably better predictors of immigration than differences in unemployment rates.26 Thus, even if the unemployment rate among Mexican-born persons in the United States is higher than the unemployment rate in Mexico, economic theory maintains that labor mobility improves the overall allocation of resources, since the main economic reason why people move is to improve their economic situation. In addition, a comparison between unemployment rates in Mexico and among Mexicanborn workers in the United States does not take into account higher unemployment rates among recent (as opposed to all) immigrants to the United States.27,28 24 Martin, Gary. Employment and Unemployment in Mexico in the 1990s. Monthly Labor Review, v. 123, November 2000. p. 4-5. 25 Ehrenberg, Ronald G., and Robert S. Smith. Modern Labor Economics: Theory and Public Policy. 7th ed. Reading, Mass., Addison-Wesley, 2000. p. 583. 26 Filer, et al., The Economics of Work and Pay, p. 258-60. 27 Meisenheimer, Joseph R., II. How Do Immigrants Fare in the U.S. Labor Market? Monthly Labor Review, v. 115, December 1992. p. 11. 28 The “frictional” unemployment rate among recent immigrants to the United States may be higher than among long-time immigrants. Frictional unemployment occurs when workers leave one job to look for another job or when persons enter the labor force but have not yet found a job. CRS-17 Median Earnings of Full-Time Wage and Salary Workers. Table 1 shows the median weekly earnings of full-time wage and salary workers in the United States for each year from 1996 through 2001.29 Weekly earnings consist of usual earnings before taxes from an individual’s only or main job and include overtime pay, tips, and cash bonuses. A comparison of full-time workers partially controls for differences in hours worked. Because the monthly CPS does not collect information on the current earnings of persons who are self-employed, Table 1 excludes selfemployed workers. 29 Table C1 in Appendix C shows the median weekly earnings of all wage and salary workers (i.e., both full-time and part-time workers). CRS-18 Table 1. Median Weekly Earnings of Full-Time Wage and Salary Workers: All Workers and Agricultural Workers, Native-Born, Foreign-Born, and Mexican-Born, 1996-2001 1996 Number of Median workers weekly (1000s) earnings All Workers Native-Born Foreign-Born Mexican-Born Agricultural Workers Native-Born Foreign-Born Mexican-Born 1997 Number of Median workers weekly (1000s) earnings 90,949 80,854 10,095 2,882 $481 $500 $385 $280 93,613 82,623 10,990 3,279 $500 $517 $400 $293 1,342 935 407 359 $300 $330 $250 $250 1,364 870 494 424 $300 $325 $271 $263 1998 1999 Number of Median Number of Median workers weekly workers weekly (1000s) earnings (1000s) earnings A. All Wage and Salary Workers 95,595 $520 97,616 $550 83,920 $540 85,489 $565 11,675 $400 12,127 $430 3,529 $308 3,612 $320 B. Agricultural Workers 1,406 $320 1,395 $345 880 $350 887 $382 526 $277 508 $296 437 $275 425 $280 Source: Calculated by CRS from the monthly Current Population Survey (CPS). 2000 Number of Median workers weekly (1000s) earnings 2001 Number of Median workers weekly (1000s) earnings 99,917 86,521 13,397 3,980 $576 $584 $443 $340 99,555 85,847 13,707 4,109 $597 $600 $474 $358 1,501 914 587 484 $350 $400 $290 $280 1,328 856 473 376 $365 $400 $310 $300 CRS-19 Table 1 shows that, in 2001, the median weekly earnings of all full-time wage and salary workers ($597) were greater than the median weekly earnings of agricultural workers ($365). The median weekly earnings of native-born agricultural workers ($400) were greater than the median weekly earnings of foreign-born ($310) and Mexican-born agricultural workers ($300). Table 1 also shows that, between 1996 and 2001, median weekly earnings increased for all groups of workers. In all cases, the increases were greater than the rate of inflation.30 Despite the relatively lower median weekly earnings of foreign-born, and especially Mexican-born, agricultural workers in the United States, a net expected gain in earnings is generally the main economic motive for migrating from one place to another (see “Immigration and Competitive Labor Markets” above). In 2000, per capita income in the United States was $34,100, compared to $8,970 in Mexico.31 Thus, for many Mexican workers, the expected gain from immigration may be significant. In addition, given the proximity of U.S. and Mexican labor markets, the costs of migration may be lower and information about U.S. job opportunities may be greater for Mexican-born workers than for workers from more distant countries. Even though migration may improve total output and individual satisfaction (i.e., economic efficiency), it may increase earnings inequality in one country while reducing it another. In recent years in the United States the earnings gap between college-educated and less-educated workers has increased.32 Some researchers suggest that the increased supply of foreign-born workers in the United States has lowered the relative wages of less-educated workers, but that immigration has had less impact on the relative wages of other workers.33 As shown above, an increasing 30 In Table 1, the increases, from 1996 to 2001, in median weekly wages range from 20.0% to 27.9% (or, between 3.7% and 5.0% annually). Between 1996 and 2001, the consumer price index for all urban consumers (CPI-U) increased by 12.9% (or 2.5% annually), while labor productivity (output per hour in the business sector) increased by 12.1% (or 2.3% annually). U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, [stats.bls.gov] (as of January 24, 2003). For data on average hourly earnings of farmworkers, see CRS Report RL30395, Farm Labor Shortages and Immigration Policy, p. 13-15. 31 The per capita income figures are calculated in terms of purchasing power parity (PPP). Using the prevailing exchange rate to convert per capita income measured in pesos into per capita income measured in dollars may not give a clear comparison of the standards of living in the United States and Mexico. PPP income provides a standard measure of real income in different countries. World Bank. World Development Indicators 2001. Washington D.C., 2001. p. 18-21. Available on the Internet at: [www.worldbank.org, in chapter 1, “World View”] (as of January 24, 2003). 32 For a comparison of average earnings for male and female workers by level of education, see CRS Report 95-1081 E, Education Matters: Earnings by Highest Year of Schooling Completed, by Linda Levine. p. 1-2. 33 According to Borjas et al., from 1980 to 1995 the increased supply of foreign-born workers with less than a high school education accounted for between 27% and 55% of the relative decline in the earnings of workers with less than a high school degree compared to (continued...) CRS-20 portion of persons in the agricultural labor force with less than a high school education are foreign-born. Thus, less educated prior immigrants may be one group whose wages are affected by the immigration of workers who have not finished high school.34 In other words, increasingly, less educated immigrants may be competing with one another for jobs. Occupation. Occupation is an important indicator of individual earnings. Workers in the agriculture industry are under-represented in managerial, professional, and technical occupations. In the agriculture industry, a greater share of native-born than foreign-born persons are employed in these occupations. In 2001, 30.9% of persons in the total labor force were employed in “managerial and professional specialty” occupations, compared to 6.4% of persons in the agricultural labor force.35 In the agriculture industry, 7.5% of native-born workers were employed in “managerial and professional specialty” occupations, compared to 1.5% of foreign-born workers.36 Similarly, in 2001, 28.9% of persons in the total labor force were employed in “technical, sales, and administrative support” occupations, compared to 7.5% of persons in the agriculture industry.37 Again, among agricultural workers, 9.0% of native-born workers were employed in these 33 (...continued) workers who had graduated from high school. According to the same study, immigration accounted for between 3% and 7% of the decline in the earnings of high school graduates relative to the earnings of college graduates. Borjas, George J., Richard B. Freeman, and Lawrence F. Katz. How Much Do Immigration and Trade Affect Labor Market Outcomes? Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, no. 1, 1997. p. 62. For a discussion of this and other studies and of different approaches to studying the labor market effects of immigration, see CRS Report 95-408 E, Immigration: The Effects on Native-Born Workers, p. 5-15. 34 Two different studies concluded that a 10% increase in the number of immigrants reduced the wages of immigrants by 4% and 2%, respectively. Smith, James P. and Barry Edmonston, Editors. The New Americans: Economic, Demographic, and Fiscal Effects of Immigration. Washington, National Academy Press, 1997. p. 142, 223. Another study indicated that in cities with large increases in the proportion of immigrants (between 1985 to 1990), immigration reduced the wages of laborers and lower-skilled service workers by no more than 3%. Card, David. Immigration Inflows, Native Outflows, and the Local Labor Market Impacts of Higher Immigration. Journal of Labor Economics, v. 19, 2001. p. 56-57. 35 “Managerial and professional specialty” occupations include “executive, administrative, and managerial” occupations and “professional speciality” occupations. These two categories of occupations include jobs such as business executives, financial managers, hotel and restaurant managers, purchasing agents, and public administration officials as well as engineers, doctors, nurses, lawyers, and teachers. 36 In 2001, the estimated number of Mexican-born agricultural workers in managerial occupations was fewer than 5,000. Therefore, the percentage of Mexican-born workers in managerial jobs was not calculated. 37 “Technical, sales, and administrative support” occupations include the following categories: “technicians and related support occupations,” “sales,” and “administrative support.” Technicians include lab technicians, x-ray technicians, licensed practical nurses, and computer programmers. “Administrative support” includes occupations such as secretaries, payroll clerks, shipping clerks, dispatchers, and computer operators. CRS-21 occupations, compared to 1.3% of foreign-born workers and 0.8% of Mexican-born workers. Compared to the overall economy, in the agriculture industry there are relatively fewer jobs in production, service, and operator occupations. In 2001, 1.3% of jobs in the agriculture industry were “precision production, craft, and repair” jobs, compared to 11.0% of jobs among all industries.38 And 2.4% of jobs in the agriculture industry were “operator, fabricator, and laborer” occupations, compared to 13.1% of jobs in the overall economy.39 Finally, in 2001, 0.3% of jobs in the agriculture industry were service jobs, compared to 13.7% of jobs in all industries.40 The distribution of occupations in the agriculture industry is affected by the disproportionate number of self-employed agricultural workers. In 2001, 82.1% of occupations in the agriculture industry were “farming, forestry, and fishing” occupations. These farming occupations include farmworker occupations such as harvest workers, migratory workers, farm hands, poultry dressers, and ranch hands. But they also include farm managers and supervisors. As noted above, in 2001, 37.4% of agricultural workers were self-employed. Table 2 shows the effects of removing self-employed agricultural workers from the distribution of occupations. Removing self-employed persons from the calculations increases the percentage of managerial occupations in agriculture from 6.4% to 7.8% and reduces the percentage of farming occupations from 82.1% to 75.6%. Median Earnings by Occupation. In competitive labor markets, relative earnings may change for different reasons. First, the supply of workers to an occupation may increase relative to the supply of workers to other occupations, in which case employment in that occupation will generally rise and earnings will generally fall relative to employment and earnings in other occupations. Second, the demand for workers in an occupation may increase relative to the demand for workers in other occupations, in which case both employment and earnings in that occupation will generally rise relative to other occupations. Third, relative earnings in an occupation may rise if labor productivity in that occupation increases relative to labor productivity in other occupations. Finally, relative earnings may change because of institutional or policy changes (e.g., a change in the degree of unionization or an increase in the minimum wage). In practice, all of these conditions may change simultaneously, but to a different degree, making it difficult to identify the exact causes of a change in the distribution of earnings. 38 “Precision production, craft, and repair” occupations include jobs such as automobile, truck, and farm equipment mechanics, telephone installers, brick layers, and carpenters. 39 “Operators, fabricator, and laborer” occupations include the following categories: “machine operators, assemblers, and inspectors,” “transportation and material moving occupations,” and “handlers, equipment cleaners, helpers, and laborers.” 40 “Service” occupations include jobs such as cooks, waiters and waitresses, nursing aides, janitors and cleaners, and family child care providers. Service occupations also include “protective service” and “private household” occupations. Protective service occupations include police officers, firefighters, and security guards. Private household occupations include child care workers, housekeepers, and cooks. CRS-22 Table 2. Occupational Distribution: All Employed Workers and Agricultural Workers, Including and Excluding Self-Employed, 2001 Occupation Managerial and professional specialty Technical, sales, and administrative support Service occupations Precision production, craft, and repair Operators, fabricators, and laborers Farming, forestry, and fishing Total Managerial and professional specialty Technical, sales, and administrative support Service occupations Precision production, craft, and repair Operators, fabricators, and laborers Farming, forestry, and fishing Total Including selfExcluding selfemployed employed A. Total employed 30.9% 30.8% 28.9% 29.6% 13.7% 13.9% 11.0% 10.4% 13.1% 13.7% 2.4% 1.6% 100.0% 100.0% B. Agricultural workers 6.4% 7.8% 7.5% 10.4% 0.3% 0.5% 1.3% 2.0% 2.4% 3.8% 82.1% 75.6% 100.0% 100.0% Source: Calculated by CRS from the monthly Current Population Survey (CPS). Note: Details may not add to totals because of rounding. Table 3 shows median earnings by occupation for full-time wage and salary workers from 1996 to 2001 (self-employed workers and unpaid family members are excluded).41 Table 3 separates farmworker occupations from other farming occupations (i.e., the data for farming occupations exclude farmworker occupations, which are treated separately). For a discussion of the differences between farming and farmworker occupations, see the discussion in the section entitled “Occupation” above. The analysis of data in Table 3 is complicated by the small size of the employment estimates for service, precision production, and operator occupations in the agriculture industry. In these occupations, small changes in the number of persons employed result in large percentage changes in employment. Therefore, these occupations are not included in the analysis in this section of the report. 41 Table C2 in Appendix C shows median earnings by occupation for all wage and salary workers (i.e., both full-time and part-time workers). CRS-23 Table 3. Median Weekly Earnings of Full-Time Wage and Salary Workers by Occupation, 1996-2001 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 Number of Median Number of Median Number of Median Number of Median Number of Median Number of Median workers weekly workers weekly workers weekly workers weekly workers weekly workers weekly (1000s) earnings (1000s) earnings (1000s) earnings (1000s) earnings (1000s) earnings (1000s) earnings A. All wage and salary workers All Workers 90,949 $481 93,613 $500 95,595 $520 97,616 $550 99,917 $576 99,555 $597 Managerial and professional specialty 27,225 $712 28,254 $742 29,304 $769 30,702 $800 31,455 $838 32,150 $865 Technical, sales, and administrative 26,121 $442 26,797 $454 27,372 $479 27,386 $481 28,252 $500 28,143 $520 support Service occupations 9,965 $300 10,184 $314 10,592 $326 10,837 $340 11,020 $358 11,156 $378 Precision production, craft, and repair 11,022 $540 11,497 $550 11,691 $570 11,926 $600 12,163 $600 12,054 $630 Operators, fabricators, and laborers 15,106 $395 15,341 $400 15,082 $406 15,182 $430 15,411 $441 14,559 $464 Farming, forestry, and fishing 914 $316 945 $318 954 $320 1,052 $356 1,027 $360 1,008 $378 (excluding farmworkers) Farmworkers 595 $260 595 $268 602 $277 531 $300 589 $300 485 $315 B. Agricultural workers All Workers 1,342 $300 1,364 $300 1,406 $320 1,395 $345 1,501 $350 1,328 $365 Managerial and professional specialty 80 $577 75 $576 99 $621 98 $700 98 $730 93 $749 Technical, sales, and administrative 107 $344 102 $346 107 $385 105 $385 99 $402 118 $428 support Service occupations 17 $320 12 $320 13 $270 8 $342 6 $346 (a) (a) Precision production, craft, and repair 37 $425 31 $400 39 $420 34 $450 51 $410 29 $450 Operators, fabricators, and laborers 41 $340 73 $350 61 $346 60 $360 73 $375 65 $400 Farming, forestry, and fishing 471 $320 484 $310 487 $320 561 $350 591 $353 539 $375 (excluding farmworkers) Farmworkers 589 $260 588 $269 601 $277 527 $300 582 $300 480 $315 Source: Calculated by CRS from the monthly Current Population Survey (CPS). Note: Details may not add to totals because of rounding. a The estimated number of persons is fewer than 5,000. CRS-24 The data in Panel A of Table 3 show that, from 1996 to 2001, employment of full-time wage and salary workers increased in all occupations except farmworker occupations. Median weekly earnings increased in all occupations. In all occupations, earnings increased more than employment. In the agricultural industry, from 1996 to 2001, employment increased in the following occupational categories: managerial, technical, and farming occupations. Employment declined in farmworker occupations. In both 1996 and 2001 an estimated 1.3 million persons were employed in the agriculture industry. From 2000 to 2001, however, employment declined by an estimated 173,000. Most of this decline occurred among farmworkers (102,000) and farming occupations (52,000). As was the case with all industries, in the agricultural industry earnings in all occupations increased more than employment (recall that service, precision production, and operator occupations are not included in this analysis).42 Despite the decline in the employment of full-time wage and salary workers in agriculture from 2000 to 2001, from 1996 to 2000 full-time employment increased by an estimated 159,000. From 1996 to 2000 employment increased in managerial and farming occupations, but declined in technical occupations. Employment in farmworker occupations was essentially unchanged. Median weekly earnings increased in all occupations. These findings suggest different combinations of changes in labor supply, demand, and productivity. To some degree, labor productivity may have increased in all occupations. In addition, the results suggest that, in farmworker and technical occupations, the relative supply of and demand for labor were essentially unchanged. In managerial and farming occupations, the results suggest that both the supply of and demand for labor increased. Interpreting the data in Table 3 requires some caution. First, separating the effects of changes in relative supply and demand, changes in productivity, and institutional or policy changes is beyond the scope of this paper. Second, the broad categories of occupations include many specific occupations. Therefore, what is true for a number of occupations grouped together may not be true for specific occupations within that group. Third, the data in Table 3 represent the entire United States. What is true for the nation as a whole may not be true for local labor markets in individual states or regions. For example, the overall demand for labor or the demand for particular skills may increase relative to supplies in one state or region, but the situation may be different in another state or region. Finally, Table 3 shows median weekly earnings for full-time wage and salary workers. What is true for median earnings may not be true for earnings at the top or bottom of the earnings distribution. Similarly, what is true for full-time workers may not be true for fulltime and part-time workers combined. 42 The data in Table 3 are for full-time workers. Some full-time workers may have become part-time workers. Table C2 in Appendix C shows that, compared to 2000, an estimated 78,000 fewer persons were employed in 2001 – compared to an estimated 362,000 fewer persons employed full-time. From 2000 to 2001, the number of persons employed in the agriculture industry declined by an estimated 175,000 persons – compared to a decline of 173,000 full-time workers. From 2000 to 2001, the number of farmworkers declined by approximately 121,000 – compared to a decline of 102,000 full-time farmworkers. CRS-25 Union Membership. Agricultural workers are less likely than all workers to belong to a union or, if they are not members of a union, to be covered by a union or employee association contract. In 2001, 1.7% of agricultural workers were members of a union (2.1% were covered by a union contract), compared to 13.5% of all workers who were union members (14.8% of all workers were covered by a union contract).43 Full-Time and Part-Time Work. A common indicator in labor market analysis is the percentage of workers employed full-time. In this report, a full-time worker is someone who usually works 35 or more hours a week at all jobs. Workers in the agriculture industry are somewhat less likely than all workers to work full time. Among workers in the agriculture industry, however, Mexican-born workers are more likely than native-born workers to work full time. In 2001, 77.7% of workers in the agriculture industry held full-time jobs, compared to 82.5% of all workers. Among workers in agriculture, 91.6% of Mexican-born workers were employed full-time, compared to 74.5% of native-born workers. (See Figure 7.) 43 Evidence suggests that union workers in the United States receive wages that are approximately 10-20% higher than the wages of comparable nonunion workers. As noted above in the discussion of The Distribution of Earnings, in addition to relative changes in supply and demand, the degree of inequality may change because of policy or institutional changes. Unions may either reduce or increase earnings inequality. For example, if unions raise the wages of workers with above average wages, the effect of unions would be to increase inequality. Evidence indicates that unions do more to reduce than to increase inequality. Freeman, Richard B. How Much Has De-Unionization Contributed to the Rise in Male Earnings Inequality? In Danziger, Sheldon, and Peter Gottschalk, eds. Uneven Tides: Rising Inequality in America. New York, Russell Sage Foundation, 1993. p. 139. CRS-26 Figure 7. Full-Time Employment: Total Labor Force, Agricultural Labor Force, and Native-and MexicanBorn Agricultural Workers, 2001 100.0% 80.0% 60.0% 40.0% 20.0% 0.0% Total labor force Agricultural Labor Force Native-born agricultural labor force Mexican-born agricultural labor force Source: Calculated by CRS from the monthly CPS. Multiple Jobholders. Compared to the overall labor force, agricultural workers are less likely to hold multiple jobs. Among agricultural workers, foreignborn workers are less likely than native-born workers to hold more than one job. In 2001, 5.4% of all workers held more than one job, compared to 4.8% of workers in the agriculture industry. Among workers in the agriculture industry, 5.5% of nativeborn workers held multiple jobs, compared to 1.5% of foreign-born workers.44 Other Indicators of Economic Well-Being The previous findings in this report are from the monthly CPS. Each March, however, the CPS includes additional questions on the number of weeks worked, health insurance coverage, poverty status, and other questions about individual and family income. These questions gather information for the previous year. The final section of this report examines data from the March CPS for years 1997 to 2002 to provide additional information on the economic well-being of agricultural workers for the years 1996 to 2001. 44 In 2001, the estimated number of Mexican-born agricultural workers holding multiple jobs was fewer than 5,000. Therefore, the percentage of multiple jobholders was not calculated. CRS-27 Weeks Worked Annually. Family income is affected by individual hourly wages, the number of hours worked, the number of workers in a family, and the amount of income from sources other than the labor market. Annual income is affected by the number of weeks worked. Figure 8 shows the percentage of workers who worked year-round in 2001. A year-round worker is someone who works at least 50 weeks during the year. During the year, a person who works year-round may work full-time, part-time, or both. Figure 8. Percentage of the Labor Force Employed Year-Round: Total Labor Force, Agricultural Labor Force, and Native- and Mexican-Born Agricultural Workers, 2001 100% 90% 80% 70% 60% 50% 40% 30% 20% 10% 0% Total labor force Agricultural Labor Force Native-born agricultural labor force Mexican-born agricultural labor force Source: Calculated by CRS from the March CPS. Figure 8 shows that workers in the agriculture industry are less likely than workers in the total labor force to work year-round and that Mexican-born workers in the agriculture industry, are less likely than native-born workers to work yearround. In 2001, 68.8% of workers in the agriculture industry worked year-round, compared to 77.3% of workers in the economy as a whole. Among workers in the agriculture industry, 54.4% of Mexican-born workers worked year-round, compared to 71.9% of native-born workers. Reflecting the tightening national labor market from 1996 to 2000, the percentage of workers employed year-round increased in the overall economy as well as in the agriculture industry. Among all workers, the percentage of workers employed year-round increased from 74.6% to 78.4%. Among workers in the agriculture industry, the percentage of workers employed year-round increased from CRS-28 66.3% to 70.5%. Reflecting the increase in unemployment from 2000 to 2001, the percentage of year-round workers declined from 78.4% to 77.3%. (Among agricultural workers, the percentage of year-round workers declined from 70.5% to 68.8%, but the change was not statistically significant.) Health Insurance Coverage. Figure 9 shows the percentage of persons in the labor force in 2001 who were covered by health insurance. Health insurance coverage includes employer-provided health insurance, privately purchased insurance, and insurance coverage under different public programs (e.g., Medicare Medicaid, veterans coverage, or other kinds of government coverage). An individual may be covered by more than one kind of insurance plan. Compared to all workers, a smaller percentage of workers in the agriculture industry have health insurance coverage. Among workers in the agriculture industry, foreign-born and Mexican-born workers are less likely than native-born workers to have health insurance. In 2001, 83.1% of all persons in the labor force had health insurance, compared to 64.8% of agricultural workers. Among agricultural workers, 74.6% of native-born workers were covered, compared to 28.5% of Mexican-born workers. Figure 9. Percentage of the Labor Force with Health Insurance: Total Labor Force, Agricultural Labor Force, and Native- and Mexican-Born Agricultural Labor Force, 2001 100% 90% 80% 70% 60% 50% 40% 30% 20% 10% 0% Total labor force Agricultural Labor Force Native-born agricultural labor force Mexican-born agricultural labor force Source: Calculated by CRS from the March CPS. CRS-29 Poverty. Finally, Figure 10 shows the percentage of persons in the labor force with annual incomes below the official poverty thresholds. Under the official definition of poverty, a person is considered poor if his or her family money income is below the poverty threshold for that size family. Noncash benefits – such as food stamps, public housing, Medicare, and Medicaid – are not included in a family’s money income. Figure 10 shows that persons in the agriculture industry are more likely than all persons in the labor force to have annual incomes below the official poverty thresholds. Among workers in the agriculture industry, Mexican-born workers are more likely to live in poverty than native-born workers. In 2001, 15.8% of workers in the agriculture industry had annual incomes below the poverty threshold, compared to 6.2% of the total labor force. Among workers in agriculture, 32.8% of Mexican-born workers lived in families with incomes below the poverty thresholds, compared to 11.9% of native-born workers. Figure 10. Percentage of the Labor Force below Poverty: Total Labor Force, Agricultural Labor Force, and Native- and Mexican-Born Agricultural Labor Force, 2001 50% 40% 30% 20% 10% 0% Total labor force Agricultural Labor Force Native-born agricultural workers Mexican-born agricultural workers Source: Calculated by CRS from the March CPS. CRS-30 Appendix A: Data and Methodology The analysis in this report is based on data from the Current Population Survey (CPS). The CPS is a monthly survey conducted by the U.S. Bureau of the Census for the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) of the U.S. Department of Labor. The monthly CPS is the main source of labor force statistics for the nation, including data on monthly unemployment rates. The CPS collects a wide range of social, demographic, and labor market data, such as information on age, gender, race, level of education, family size and composition, marital status, occupation, industry, and earnings. Each month, about 59,000 households are interviewed, either in person or by phone. About 9,000 households are not eligible to be interviewed and about 3,200 are not interviewed. Thus, about 46,800 households are currently interviewed each month. The monthly survey collects information for approximately 94,000 persons ages 15 and over. Each month one-fourth of the CPS sample is asked questions about current earnings. The CPS sample is representative of the civilian noninstitutional population; it does not include persons on active duty in the Armed forces or persons in institutions such as nursing homes or correctional facilities. The survey collects information on persons who are temporarily absent from a surveyed household and who have no other usual address. These persons include individuals who are on vacation, away on business, and college students. The survey includes civilian noninstitutional persons living in group quarters. (Group quarters are living quarters where residents share common facilities. Examples may include group homes, fraternities, or sororities.)45 The BLS defines the labor force as the sum of employed and unemployed persons. Unemployed persons are individuals who are not working but who are available and looking for work. Employed persons are individuals who are working for a private or public employer, are self-employed, or who work 15 hours or more per week as unpaid workers on a family farm or business. Also counted as employed are persons who are temporarily absent from work because of illness, bad weather, vacation, job training, labor-management dispute, childcare problems, maternity or paternity leave, or other family or personal reasons. BLS defines wage and salary workers as persons who work for a private or public employer and self-employed persons whose business is incorporated (i.e., these persons are paid employees of a corporation). Because BLS does not collect earnings information on self-employed persons, in this report wage and salary workers are individuals employed by private or public employers.46 Each March, the CPS includes a supplement to the basic questions. The supplement includes questions about individual and family income, sources of income, weeks worked, and health insurance coverage. These questions refer to the 45 U.S. Department of Labor. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Employment and Earnings, v. 48, January 2001. p. 232, 241. U.S. Department of Labor. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Current Population Survey: Design and Methodology. Technical Paper 63, March 2000. p. 1-1, 37-3-9, 5-4. 46 Bureau of Labor Statistics, Current Population Survey: Design and Methodology, p. 5-3 – 5-5. CRS-31 previous year. Thus, in this report, the information in Figures 8 to 10 in the text and Tables B11 to B13 in Appendix B for 1996-2001 are from the March supplements for 1997-2001. The sample for the March supplement includes military personnel who live in a household with at least one civilian adult.47 The estimates from the March CPS for 2000 and 2001 use sample weights based on the 2000 decennial census. In this report, the data shown from the basic monthly CPS are annual monthly averages. The monthly data for each year from 1996 to 2001 were combined to calculate annual monthly averages. The analysis in the report focuses on the labor market characteristics of persons age 15 and over who are in the labor force. The CPS sample is weighted to represent the civilian noninstitutional population. Official BLS labor force statistics use a “composite” weight that is not available in the public use files for years before 1998. For consistency, this report uses a “final” weight for all years from 1996 through 2001. (A different weight is used for the analysis of earnings.) The difference in weights has a minimal effect on the percentage calculations in this report. Beginning in January 1994, the monthly CPS began to ask households questions about citizenship; i.e., where individuals were born, how long they have lived in the United States, and whether foreign-born persons have become citizens. Because of uncertainty about the reliability of responses to these questions for 1994 and 1995, this report begins with data for 1996. 47 Bureau of Labor Statistics, Current Population Survey: Design and Methodology, p. 11-3. CRS-32 Appendix B. Data Used in Analysis This appendix provides the absolute numbers used to calculate the percentages discussed in the text of this report. The tables are presented in the same order as the discussion in the text. Table B1. Size of the Total and Agricultural Labor Force, 1996-2001 1996 All Workers Native-Born Foreign-Born Mexican-Born Agricultural Workers Native-Born Foreign-Born Mexican-Born 134,713 120,268 14,445 3,887 3,765 3,108 656 530 1997 1998 1999 2000 A. Total labor force (1000s) 137,079 138,856 140,289 141,811 121,651 122,662 123,710 124,042 15,428 16,194 16,579 17,769 4,278 4,618 4,537 4,948 B. Agricultural labor force (1000s) 3,683 3,655 3,558 3,549 3,016 2,910 2,808 2,779 667 745 750 770 522 596 602 611 2001 142,642 124,126 18,516 5,208 3,425 2,719 705 533 Source: Calculated by CRS from the monthly Current Population Survey (CPS) Notes: Estimates include both employed and unemployed persons in the labor force, ages 15 and over. Details may not add to totals because of rounding. CRS-33 Table B2. Gender of Total and Agricultural Labor Force, 1996-2001 (in thousands) All Workers Men Women Total Native-Born Men Women Total Foreign-Born Men Women Total Mexican-Born Men Women Total Agricultural Workers Men Women Total Native-Born Men Women Total Foreign-Born Men Women Total Mexican-Born Men Women Total 1996 1997 1998 1999 A. Total labor force 2000 2001 72,489 62,224 134,713 73,675 63,404 137,079 74,559 64,297 138,856 75,017 65,272 140,289 75,730 66,081 141,811 76,083 66,559 142,642 63,945 56,323 120,268 64,486 57,165 121,651 64,925 57,738 122,662 65,308 58,402 123,710 65,235 58,807 124,042 65,161 58,966 124,126 8,544 5,901 14,445 9,189 6,239 15,428 9,634 6,559 16,194 9,709 6,869 16,579 10,495 7,274 17,769 10,922 7,594 18,516 2,727 1,160 3,887 2,983 1,295 4,278 3,221 3,115 3,379 1,397 1,423 1,568 4,618 4,537 4,948 B. Agricultural labor force 3,526 1,682 5,208 2,825 940 3,765 2,770 913 3,683 2,765 890 3,655 2,641 917 3,558 2,612 937 3,549 2,486 939 3,425 2,271 838 3,108 2,205 811 3,016 2,128 782 2,910 2,010 798 2,808 1,969 810 2,779 1,901 818 2,719 554 102 656 565 102 667 637 108 745 631 119 750 644 127 770 585 120 705 464 66 530 448 74 522 517 78 596 514 88 602 518 92 611 450 83 533 Source: Calculated by CRS from the monthly Current Population Survey (CPS). Notes: Estimates include both employed and unemployed persons in the labor force, ages 15 and over. Details may not add to totals because of rounding. CRS-34 Table B3. Age Distribution of the Total and Agricultural Labor Force, 1996-2001 (in thousands) Age 1996 15-24 25-34 35-44 45-54 55-64 65 and over Total 21,837 33,835 36,596 26,420 12,154 3,871 134,713 15-24 25-34 35-44 45-54 55-64 65 and over Total 710 813 858 605 422 356 3,765 15-24 25-34 35-44 45-54 55-64 65 and over Total 593 585 689 515 380 346 3,108 15-24 25-34 35-44 45-54 55-64 65 and over Total 117 228 170 90 41 10 656 15-24 25-34 35-44 45-54 55-64 65 and over Total 103 191 140 68 25 (a) 530 1997 1998 1999 2000 A. Total labor force 22,123 22,628 22,952 23,432 33,397 32,893 32,131 31,671 37,352 37,602 37,924 37,846 27,591 28,436 29,405 30,456 12,688 13,288 13,714 14,067 3,927 4,009 4,162 4,340 137,079 138,856 140,289 141,811 B. Agricultural labor force 706 736 689 647 775 765 696 687 850 836 828 826 590 617 611 620 427 408 434 445 335 293 300 324 3,683 3,655 3,558 3,549 C. Native-Born agricultural labor force 584 586 532 504 561 534 483 445 687 651 634 618 487 502 494 511 377 354 380 391 320 283 284 309 3,016 2,910 2,808 2,779 D. Foreign-Born agricultural labor force 122 150 157 143 215 230 213 241 163 185 193 208 103 116 117 109 50 54 53 53 14 10 16 15 667 745 750 770 E. Mexican-Born agricultural labor force 104 132 142 119 183 200 177 209 131 142 157 167 72 88 86 72 29 29 31 36 (a) (a) 9 8 522 596 602 611 2001 23,285 31,140 37,624 31,532 14,655 4,407 142,642 631 616 812 619 442 305 3,425 494 416 613 513 391 291 2,719 138 199 199 105 51 14 705 117 166 149 71 22 8 533 Source: Calculated by CRS from the monthly Current Population Survey (CPS). Notes: Estimates include both employed and unemployed persons in the labor force, ages 15 and over. Details may not add to totals because of rounding. a The estimated number of persons is fewer than 5,000. CRS-35 Table B4. Educational Attainment Among Persons in the Total and Agricultural Labor Force, 1996-2001 (in thousands) Years of Education 1996 8 Years or Less 9-12 Years a High School 1-3 Years of College Bachelors’ Degree Advanced Degree Total 5,104 14,179 43,549 37,985 22,887 11,010 134,713 8 Years or Less 9-12 Years a High School 1-3 Years of College Bachelors’ Degree Advanced Degree Total 662 635 1,275 739 334 119 3,765 8 Years or Less 9-12 Years a High School 1-3 Years of College Bachelors’ Degree Advanced Degree Total 254 533 1,194 705 311 111 3,108 8 Years or Less 9-12 Years a High School 1-3 Years of College Bachelors’ Degree Advanced Degree Total 408 102 81 33 24 7 656 8 Years or Less 9-12 Years a High School 1-3 Years of College Bachelors’ Degree Advanced Degree Total 373 74 52 20 10 (c) 530 1997 1998 1999 2000 A. Total labor force 5,151 5,061 4,983 5,137 14,412 14,812 14,388 14,291 44,511 44,346 44,226 44,187 38,211 38,529 39,354 40,196 23,555 24,339 25,121 25,610 11,239 11,768 12,216 12,391 137,079 138,856 140,289 141,811 B. Agricultural workers 630 636 649 611 632 647 570 541 1,246 1,239 1,165 1,193 743 691 728 757 303 320 341 322 128 122 105 126 3,683 3,655 3,558 3,549 C. Native-Born agricultural workers 236 207 206 176 519 512 438 411 1,151 1,119 1,053 1,068 708 656 687 703 283 302 328 304 117 114 97 116 3,016 2,910 2,808 2,779 D. Foreign-Born agricultural workers 394 428 444 435 113 135 132 130 95 120 113 125 34 35 40 53 19 18 13 18 11 8 8 9 667 745 750 770 E. Mexican-Born agricultural workers 344 382 389 377 89 105 105 104 61 83 78 87 19 19 26 32 6 8 (c) (c) (c) (c) (c) (c) 522 596 602 611 2001 5,003 14,255 43,914 40,714 26,026 12,731 142,642 555 540 1,157 727 323 122 3,425 157 403 1,051 693 301 114 2,719 398 137 107 34 21 8 705 340 101 69 18 (c) (c) 533 Source: Calculated by CRS from the monthly Current Population Survey (CPS). Note: Details may not add to totals because of rounding. a Estimates include persons who completed 12 years of school but who have not received a diploma or GED. b Estimates include persons with a GED. c The estimated number of persons is fewer than 5,000. CRS-36 Table B5. Class of Worker: Total and Agricultural Labor Force, 1996-2001 (in thousands) 1996 Wage and Salary Workers Self-Employed Unpaid Family Member Total 123,029 10,815 195 134,038 Wage and Salary Workers Self-Employed Unpaid Family Member Total 2,136 1,565 64 3,765 Wage and Salary Workers Self-Employed Unpaid Family Member Total 1,579 1,469 61 3,108 Wage and Salary Workers Self-Employed Unpaid Family Member Total 557 96 (a) 656 Wage and Salary Workers Self-Employed Unpaid Family Member Total 475 54 (a) 530 1997 1998 1999 2000 A. Total labor force 125,384 127,482 129,237 130,980 10,845 10,605 10,355 10,166 182 153 146 146 136,411 138,241 139,738 141,292 B. Total agricultural labor force 2,116 2,223 2,178 2,237 1,509 1,387 1,333 1,269 58 45 47 42 3,683 3,655 3,558 3,549 C. Native-Born agricultural labor force 1,534 1,552 1,513 1,542 1,425 1,314 1,250 1,196 57 45 45 41 3,016 2,910 2,808 2,779 D. Foreign-Born agricultural labor force 582 671 665 696 85 74 83 74 (a) (a) (a) (a) 667 745 750 770 E. Mexican-Born agricultural labor force 482 557 557 573 40 39 44 37 (a) (a) (a) (a) 522 596 602 611 2001 131,893 10,078 142 142,113 2,110 1,281 34 3,425 1,496 1,189 34 2,719 614 91 (a) 705 488 45 (a) 533 Source: Calculated by CRS from the monthly Current Population Survey (CPS) Notes: Estimates include both employed and unemployed persons in the labor force, ages 15 and over. Details may not add to totals because of rounding. The estimates of the number of persons in the total force are not the same as labor force estimates in other tables because of missing data on class of worker. a The estimated number of persons is fewer than 5,000. CRS-37 Table B6. Number of Employed and Unemployed Persons in the Total and Agricultural Labor Force, 1996-2001 (in thousands) All Workers Employed Unemployed Total Native-Born Employed Unemployed Total Foreign-Born Employed Unemployed Total Mexican-Born Employed Unemployed Total Agricultural Workers Employed Unemployed Total Native-Born Employed Unemployed Total Foreign-Born Employed Unemployed Total Mexican-Born Employed Unemployed Total 1996 1997 1998 1999 A. Total labor force 2000 2001 127,262 7,452 134,713 130,125 6,954 137,079 132,459 6,397 138,856 134,236 6,053 140,289 135,957 5,854 141,811 135,702 6,940 142,642 113,831 6,437 120,268 115,654 5,997 121,651 117,134 5,529 122,662 118,459 5,251 123,710 118,954 5,089 124,042 118,175 5,952 124,126 13,430 1,015 14,445 14,471 957 15,428 15,325 868 16,194 15,777 802 16,579 17,003 766 17,769 17,528 988 18,516 3,513 374 3,887 3,964 313 4,278 4,318 4,273 4,677 301 265 271 4,618 4,537 4,948 B. Agricultural labor force 4,865 343 5,208 3,512 252 3,765 3,462 221 3,683 3,452 203 3,655 3,346 212 3,558 3,360 189 3,549 3,203 222 3,425 2,950 159 3,108 2,860 156 3,016 2,770 140 2,910 2,681 127 2,808 2,667 112 2,779 2,588 131 2,719 563 93 656 602 65 667 683 62 745 665 85 750 693 77 770 615 90 705 449 81 530 468 53 522 544 52 596 533 68 602 545 65 611 456 77 533 Source: Calculated by CRS from the monthly Current Population Survey (CPS). Notes: Estimates include both employed and unemployed persons in the labor force, ages 15 and over. Details may not add to totals because of rounding. CRS-38 Table B7. Occupations of Employed Total and Agricultural Workers, 1996-2001 (in thousands) Occupation 1996 1997 Managerial and professional specialty Technical, sales, and administrative support Service occupations Precision production, craft, and repair Operators, fabricators, and laborers Farming, forestry, and fishing Total 36,538 37,802 17,382 13,622 18,272 3,645 127,262 Managerial and professional specialty Technical, sales, and administrative support Service occupations Precision production, craft, and repair Operators, fabricators, and laborers Farming, forestry, and fishing Total 195 234 29 40 59 2,956 3,512 Managerial and professional specialty Technical, sales, and administrative support Service occupations Precision production, craft, and repair Operators, fabricators, and laborers Farming, forestry, and fishing Total 179 228 24 30 51 2,438 2,950 Managerial and professional specialty Technical, sales, and administrative support Service occupations Precision production, craft, and repair Operators, fabricators, and laborers Farming, forestry, and fishing Total 16 5 5 10 8 517 563 Managerial and professional specialty Technical, sales, and administrative support Service occupations Precision production, craft, and repair Operators, fabricators, and laborers Farming, forestry, and fishing Total 7 (a) (a) 8 8 422 449 1998 1999 2000 A. Total employed 37,740 39,073 40,554 40,974 38,428 38,794 39,132 39,649 17,767 18,154 18,170 18,568 14,155 14,461 14,614 14,897 18,449 18,388 18,264 18,408 3,587 3,588 3,502 3,460 130,125 132,459 134,236 135,957 B. Agricultural workers 206 215 216 211 226 211 218 222 25 21 15 16 34 39 36 54 87 82 77 90 2,885 2,884 2,783 2,767 3,462 3,452 3,346 3,360 C. Native-Born agricultural workers 194 197 199 204 222 205 210 208 21 16 13 11 25 25 25 40 64 53 59 70 2,336 2,273 2,174 2,135 2,860 2,770 2,681 2,667 D. Foreign-Born agricultural workers 12 18 17 7 (a) 6 8 14 (a) (a) (a) 5 9 14 11 14 23 29 18 20 549 611 609 632 602 683 665 693 E. Mexican-Born agricultural workers (a) 6 (a) (a) (a) (a) 5 7 (a) (a) (a) (a) 5 8 9 12 22 22 14 18 433 501 500 501 468 544 533 545 Source: Calculated by CRS from the monthly Current Population Survey (CPS). Note: Details may not add to totals because of rounding. a The estimated number of persons is fewer than 5,000. 2001 41,884 39,250 18,619 14,862 17,780 3,308 135,702 204 240 10 41 77 2,630 3,203 195 232 7 30 56 2,068 2,588 9 8 (a) 11 22 562 615 (a) (a) (a) 6 17 424 456 CRS-39 Table B8. Union Membership and Union Coverage Among Agricultural and All Workers, 1996-2001 (in thousands) 1996 1997 Total Employed 112,360 100,457 11,902 3,280 Member 16,118 14,611 1,506 291 Total Employed 114,918 102,086 12,832 3,708 All Workers Native-Born Foreign-Born Mexican-Born Member 16,274 14,830 1,445 309 Agricultural Native-Born Foreign-Born Mexican-Born 32 13 19 14 1,746 1,299 447 391 36 21 16 11 1,719 1,176 544 462 All Workers Foreign-Born Native-Born Mexican-Born Covered 18,164 16,542 1,622 344 Total Employed 112,360 100,457 11,902 3,280 Covered 17,932 16,245 1,688 332 Total Employed 114,918 102,086 12,832 3,708 Agricultural Foreign-Born Native-Born Mexican-Born 37 17 20 15 1,746 1,299 447 391 40 22 18 12 1,719 1,176 544 462 1998 1999 A. Union membership 1. All wage and salary workers Total Total Member Employed Member Employed 16,211 116,730 16,477 118,963 14,737 103,185 14,910 104,981 1,474 13,545 1,566 13,982 318 3,977 325 4,039 2. Agricultural workers 27 1,752 43 1,735 12 1,194 20 1,195 15 558 22 540 10 461 15 451 B. Union coverage 1. All wage and salary workers Total Total Covered Employed Covered Employed 17,918 116,730 18,182 118,963 16,282 103,185 16,421 104,981 1,636 13,545 1,761 13,982 351 3,977 368 4,039 2. Agricultural workers 32 1,752 48 1,735 16 1,194 25 1,195 16 558 23 540 10 461 16 451 2000 Member 16,258 14,600 1,658 370 2001 Total Employed 120,786 105,486 15,299 4,430 Member 16,289 14,573 1,716 356 Total Employed 120,708 104,976 15,732 4,612 38 21 17 11 1,846 1,220 626 518 28 15 14 10 1,671 1,142 530 422 Covered 17,944 16,104 1,840 406 Total Employed 120,786 105,486 15,299 4,430 Covered 17,878 15,991 1,887 394 Total Employed 120,708 104,976 15,732 4,612 46 25 21 13 1,846 1,220 626 518 34 17 17 14 1,671 1,142 530 422 Source: Calculated by CRS from the monthly Current Population Survey (CPS). Notes: Union members are wage and salary workers who belong to a labor union or an employee association similar to a union. Covered workers include union members as well as workers who are not union members but whose jobs are covered by a union or an employee association contract. CRS-40 Table B9. Number of Full-Time and Part-Time Employed Total and Agricultural Workers, 1996-2001 (in thousands) Fulltime All Workers Native-Born Foreign-Born Mexican-Born Agricultural Workers Native-Born Foreign-Born Mexican-Born 1996 Parttime Total Fulltime 1997 Parttime Total Fulltime 103,620 23,642 127,262 106,392 23,734 130,125 108,572 92,168 21,663 113,831 93,957 21,697 115,654 95,347 11,451 1,979 13,430 12,434 2,037 14,471 13,225 3,078 435 3,513 3,497 467 3,964 3,815 2,629 2,127 502 406 883 823 60 43 3,512 2,950 563 449 2,618 2,082 536 427 844 779 66 41 3,462 2,860 602 468 2,644 2,018 626 507 Source: Calculated by CRS from the monthly Current Population Survey (CPS). Note: Details may not add to totals because of rounding. 1998 Parttime 1999 2000 2001 Full- PartFull- PartFull- PartTotal time time Total time time Total time time Total A. Total employed 23,886 132,459 110,450 23,786 134,236 112,447 23,510 135,957 111,949 23,753 135,702 21,787 117,134 96,755 21,705 118,459 97,556 21,398 118,954 96,630 21,545 118,175 2,100 15,325 13,696 2,081 15,777 14,890 2,113 17,003 15,320 2,208 17,528 503 4,318 3,826 447 4,273 4,215 462 4,677 4,344 521 4,865 B. Agricultural workers 809 3,452 2,558 788 3,346 2,607 753 3,360 2,487 715 3,203 751 2,770 1,956 725 2,681 1,970 697 2,667 1,929 659 2,588 57 683 602 63 665 637 56 693 559 56 615 37 544 490 43 533 503 42 545 417 38 456 CRS-41 Table B10. Number of Employed Total and Agricultural Workers Who are Multiple Jobholders, 1996-2001 (in thousands) 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 Multiple Total Multiple Total Multiple Total Multiple Total Multiple Total Multiple Total Jobholders Jobholders Jobholders Jobholders Jobholders Jobholders Jobholders Jobholders Jobholders Jobholders Jobholders Jobholders A. Total employed All Workers 8,078 127,262 8,201 130,125 7,962 132,459 7,827 134,236 7,577 135,957 7,311 135,702 Native-Born 7,553 113,831 7,622 115,654 7,383 117,134 7,254 118,459 6,992 118,954 6,712 118,175 Foreign-Born 525 13,430 580 14,471 579 15,325 572 15,777 585 17,003 600 17,528 Mexican-Born 85 3,513 100 3,964 100 4,318 95 4,273 111 4,677 113 4,865 B. Agricultural workers Agricultural Workers 177 3,512 180 3,462 161 3,452 164 3,346 163 3,360 153 3,203 Native-Born 166 2,950 173 2,860 155 2,770 157 2,681 153 2,667 143 2,588 Foreign-Born 11 563 7 602 7 683 7 665 10 693 9 615 Mexican-Born 6 449 (a) 468 (a) 544 (a) 533 (a) 545 (a) 456 Source: Calculated by CRS from the monthly Current Population Survey (CPS). Note: Details may not add to totals because of rounding. a The estimated number of persons is fewer than 5,000. CRS-42 Table B11. Annual Weeks Worked Among Persons in the Total and Agricultural Labor Force, 1996-2001 (in thousands) Weeks Worked 1996 0-9 Weeks 10-19 Weeks 20-29 Weeks 30-39 Weeks 40-49 Weeks 50-52 Weeks Total 7,618 3,997 6,011 5,833 11,004 101,246 135,709 0-9 Weeks 10-19 Weeks 20-29 Weeks 30-39 Weeks 40-49 Weeks 50-52 Weeks Total 340 133 178 214 304 2,300 3,470 0-9 Weeks 10-19 Weeks 20-29 Weeks 30-39 Weeks 40-49 Weeks 50-52 Weeks Total 250 105 130 132 200 1,953 2,769 0-9 Weeks 10-19 Weeks 20-29 Weeks 30-39 Weeks 40-49 Weeks 50-52 Weeks Total 90 29 48 82 104 348 701 0-9 Weeks 10-19 Weeks 20-29 Weeks 30-39 Weeks 40-49 Weeks 50-52 Weeks Total 83 21 39 63 84 276 566 1997 1998 1999 2000 A. Total labor force 7,293 6,858 7,044 6,573 3,863 3,640 3,648 3,332 6,000 5,518 5,622 5,450 5,718 5,575 5,261 5,293 10,638 10,278 10,458 10,356 103,920 106,733 108,873 113,090 137,432 138,602 140,904 144,094 B. Agricultural labor force 271 305 299 310 135 102 108 77 179 209 200 236 182 188 194 141 273 275 292 237 2,171 2,270 2,317 2,383 3,209 3,350 3,409 3,384 C. Native-Born agricultural labor force 234 249 234 211 77 87 80 49 119 144 133 140 125 122 113 90 181 190 199 164 1,799 1,847 1,877 1,897 2,535 2,639 2,637 2,551 D. Foreign-Born agricultural labor force 36 57 65 99 58 15 28 28 60 65 68 96 56 66 80 52 92 85 92 73 371 423 439 486 674 711 773 834 E. Mexican-Born agricultural labor force 28 33 53 78 33 15 26 21 51 54 56 78 50 42 74 45 75 70 82 67 276 319 352 399 514 535 643 687 Source: Calculated by CRS from the March Current Population Survey (CPS). Note: Details may not add to totals because of rounding. 2001 7,314 3,460 5,780 5,688 10,612 111,624 144,478 343 111 176 187 238 2,322 3,376 256 91 117 116 145 1,856 2,581 87 20 59 71 92 466 795 77 16 46 65 82 343 630 CRS-43 Table B12. Number of Persons in the Total and Agricultural Labor Force With and Without Health Insurance, 1996-2001 (in thousands) 1996 With Health Insurance Without Health Insurance Total 112,271 23,438 135,709 With Health Insurance Without Health Insurance Total 2,361 1,109 3,470 With Health Insurance Without Health Insurance Total 2,117 652 2,769 With Health Insurance Without Health Insurance Total 244 457 701 With Health Insurance Without Health Insurance Total 175 391 566 1997 1998 1999 2000 A. Total labor force 112,620 113,848 116,578 120,704 24,812 24,754 24,326 23,390 137,432 138,602 140,904 144,094 B. Total agricultural labor force 2,077 2,190 2,353 2,252 1,132 1,160 1,056 1,132 3,209 3,350 3,409 3,384 C. Native-Born agricultural labor force 1,860 1,952 2,066 1,973 675 687 570 577 2,535 2,639 2,637 2,551 D. Foreign-Born agricultural labor force 217 238 287 279 457 473 486 555 674 711 773 834 E. Mexican-Born agricultural labor force 142 165 222 199 372 370 421 489 514 535 643 687 Source: Calculated by CRS from the March Current Population Survey (CPS). Note: Details may not add to totals because of rounding. 2001 120,053 24,425 144,478 2,188 1,188 3,376 1,926 655 2,581 262 533 795 180 450 630 CRS-44 Table B13. Number of Persons in the Total and Agricultural Labor Force Below the Official Poverty Level, 1996-2001 (in thousands) 1996 Below Poverty Level At or Above Poverty Level Total 9,814 125,895 135,709 Below Poverty Level At or Above Poverty Level Total 563 2,907 3,470 Below Poverty Level At or Above Poverty Level Total 288 2,481 2,769 Below Poverty Level At or Above Poverty Level Total 275 426 701 Below Poverty Level At or Above Poverty Level Total 231 335 566 1997 1998 1999 2000 A. Total labor force 9,724 9,373 9,192 8,461 127,708 129,228 131,712 135,632 137,432 138,602 140,904 144,094 B. Total agricultural labor force 482 593 541 471 2,727 2,756 2,868 2,913 3,209 3,350 3,409 3,384 C. Native-Born agricultural labor force 316 421 309 267 2,218 2,218 2,327 2,283 2,535 2,639 2,637 2,551 D. Foreign-Born agricultural labor force 165 172 232 204 509 539 541 630 674 711 773 834 E. Mexican-Born agricultural labor force 139 146 206 189 375 388 437 498 514 535 643 687 Source: Calculated by CRS from the March Current Population Survey (CPS). Note: Details may not add to totals because of rounding. 2001 9,020 135,458 144,478 533 2,843 3,376 308 2,273 2,581 225 569 795 207 423 630 CRS-45 Appendix C. Median Weekly Earnings of All Wage and Salary Workers Table C1 shows median weekly earnings of all full-time and part-time adult wage and salary workers, in contrast to Table 2, which shows the median weekly earnings of wage and salary workers employed full-time. Similarly, Table C2 shows median weekly earnings of all full-time and part-time workers by occupation. CRS-46 Table C1. Median Weekly Earnings of Wage and Salary Workers: All Workers and Agricultural Workers, NativeBorn, Foreign-Born, and Mexican-Born, 1996-2001 1996 Number of Median workers weekly (1000s) earnings All Workers Native-Born Foreign-Born Mexican-Born Agricultural Workers Native-Born Foreign-Born Mexican-Born 1997 Number of Median workers weekly (1000s) earnings 112,360 100,457 11,902 3,280 $415 $425 $344 $270 114,918 102,086 12,832 3,708 $433 $444 $350 $280 1,746 1,299 447 391 $260 $269 $250 $250 1,719 1,176 544 462 $274 $280 $258 $250 1998 1999 Number of Median Number of Median workers weekly workers weekly (1000s) earnings (1000s) earnings A. All workers 116,730 $460 118,954 $480 103,185 $470 104,977 $481 13,545 $365 13,977 $400 3,977 $300 4,038 $300 B. Agricultural workers 1,752 $280 1,735 $300 1,194 $300 1,195 $320 558 $272 540 $288 461 $270 451 $280 Source: Calculated by CRS from the monthly Current Population Survey (CPS). Note: Details may not add to totals because of rounding. 2000 Number of Median workers weekly (1000s) earnings 2001 Number of Median workers weekly (1000s) earnings 120,786 105,486 15,299 4,430 $500 $500 $400 $320 120,708 104,976 15,732 4,612 $515 $530 $420 $338 1,846 1,220 626 518 $315 $338 $280 $280 1,671 1,142 530 422 $330 $350 $300 $300 CRS-47 Table C2. Median Weekly Earnings of All Wage and Salary Workers by Occupation, 1996-2001 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 Number Number Number Number Number Number Median Median Median Median Median of of of of of of weekly weekly weekly weekly weekly workers workers workers workers workers workers earnings earnings earnings earnings earnings (1000s) (1000s) (1000s) (1000s) (1000s) (1000s) A. All wage and salary workers All Workers 112,360 $415 114,918 $433 116,730 $460 118,954 $480 120,786 $500 120,708 Managerial and professional specialty 30,958 $673 31,957 $692 33,102 $712 34,691 $750 35,378 $769 36,192 Technical, sales, and administrative 34,280 $368 34,891 $384 35,379 $400 35,511 $410 36,124 $440 35,959 support Service occupations 16,080 $231 16,387 $240 16,594 $254 16,826 $270 16,953 $280 17,172 Precision production, craft, and repair 11,622 $520 12,076 $533 12,274 $554 12,472 $577 12,716 $600 12,658 Operators, fabricators, and laborers 17,483 $359 17,673 $365 17,443 $384 17,514 $400 17,642 $400 16,883 Farming, forestry, and fishing 1,157 $277 1,188 $280 1,195 $288 1,277 $320 1,242 $320 1,238 (excluding farmworkers) Farmworkers 780 $238 746 $240 743 $250 663 $275 732 $280 608 B. Agricultural workers All Workers 1,746 $260 1,719 $274 1,752 $280 1,735 $300 1,846 $315 1,671 Managerial and professional specialty 97 $511 86 $500 107 $621 109 $673 115 $673 114 Technical, sales, and administrative 165 $280 158 $280 162 $320 170 $300 158 $315 190 support Service occupations 22 $295 20 $250 25 $245 14 $270 14 $210 6 Precision production, craft, and repair 42 $400 31 $400 40 $420 35 $450 56 $400 33 Operators, fabricators, and laborers 50 $320 81 $325 71 $320 69 $340 82 $360 70 Farming, forestry, and fishing 597 $280 605 $280 605 $286 682 $315 700 $320 656 (excluding farmworkers) Farmworkers 772 $240 738 $240 741 $250 657 $275 723 $280 602 Source: Calculated by CRS from the monthly Current Population Survey (CPS). Note: Details may not add to totals because of rounding. Median weekly earnings $515 $800 $450 $300 $600 $420 $340 $280 $330 $673 $333 $315 $440 $383 $346 $280