University of California

Expanded production of labor-intensive crops increases agricultural employment


Akhtar Khan
Philip Martin
Phil Hardiman

Authors Affiliations

A. Khan is Research Program Specialist, Labor Market Information Division, California Employment Development Department (EDD); P. Martin is Professor of Agricultural and Resource Economics, UC Davis; P. Hardiman is Research Manager, Labor Market Information Division, EDD. The views expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the policies of the EDD or the State of California.

Publication Information

Hilgardia 58(1):35-39. DOI:10.3733/ca.v058n01p35. January 2004.

PDF of full article, Cite this article


The production of labor-intensive fruit, vegetable and horticultural specialty crops increased in the 1990s, as did the employment of farmworkers: average annual employment or roughly the number of year-round equivalent jobs rose about 20%, to almost 400,000. Far more individuals, however, are employed on California farms during the year. Agricultural employers reported 1.1 million individuals (unique Social Security numbers) when they paid unemployment insurance taxes in 2001. We analyzed the jobs and earnings of these farmworkers in 1991, 1996 and 2001. About three individuals were employed for each year-round equivalent job in the 1990s, and there was a shift to farmers hiring workers via farm labor contractors. The findings suggest that it may be possible to employ a smaller total farm workforce, with each worker employed more hours and achieving higher earnings.


[CASS] California Agricultural Statistics Service. 2002. www.nas.usda.gov.ca

[EDD] California Employment Development Department. Current Employment Statistics (CES). 2003. Sacramento, CA: Labor Market Information Division. https://doi.org/10.2307/3235238

Khan MA, Martin P, Hardiman P. California's Farm Labor Markets: A Cross-sectional Analysis of Employment and Earnings in 1991, 1996, and 2001. California Employment Development Department 2003. www.calmis.ca.gov/SpecialReports/Ag-Emp-1991to2001.pdf

Migration News. Fox visits Bush. 2001. 8 http://migration.ucdavis.edu/mn/pastissues/oct2001mn_past.html.

Moore C, Khan A, Dardia M, Barbour E. Wage Mobility in California: An Analysis of Annual Earnings. California Employment Development Department 2002. www.calmis.ca.gov/specialreports/Wage-Mobility-2002.pdf.

[NAWS] National Agricultural Worker Survey. US Department of Labor. 2001. www.dol.gov/asp/programs/agworker/naws.htm.

US Bureau of Labor Statistics. Handbook of Methods. Ch. 8 1997. http://stats.bls.gov/hom/homch8.pdf. https://doi.org/10.2307/976169

US Census Bureau. The North American Industry Classification System (NAICS). 2002. www.census.gov/epcd/www/naics.html. https://doi.org/10.1111/0033-3352.00117

[USDA-NASS] US Department of Agriculture, National Agricultural Statistics Service. Farm Labor. 2003. http://usda.mannlib.cornell.edu/reports/nassr/other/pfl-bb.

Khan A, Martin P, Hardiman P. 2004. Expanded production of labor-intensive crops increases agricultural employment. Hilgardia 58(1):35-39. DOI:10.3733/ca.v058n01p35
Webmaster Email: sjosterman@ucanr.edu