Ag Output and Labor Growth Projected

Ernie NeffLabor

Real output in the agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting labor sector is projected to grow at an annual rate of 2.3% from 2020 to 2030, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) recently reported. That’s slightly higher than the 2.2% annual growth rate projected for the entire U.S. economy.

According to the report, the agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting sector is expected to have an annual compound rate of employment growth of 0.2% during the next decade. That is lower than the anticipated growth of the full U.S. workforce, which is projected at 0.5% annually.

The agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting sector is projected to add 55,000 jobs from 2020 to 2030, less than half the number of jobs it added from 2010 to 2020. Although agriculture wage and salary employment is projected to increase by 78,300 over the next decade, a continued decline in agriculture self-employment (−23,200) is expected to stymie the overall employment recovery from the previous decade. This decline is due, in part, to a declining number of small farms, to the emergence of large farming operations and to older workers being more likely to be self-employed than any other working-age group in this industry.

BLS projected that employment and real output will grow faster during the 2020–30 decade than in previous projection periods. This expectation largely reflects growth associated with the recovery from the 2020 recession, which was caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. About one-fourth of the population will be age 65 or older in 2030, contributing to slow projected growth in the labor force and a continued decline in the labor force participation rate.

The BLS stated that despite a depressed labor force level in 2020, labor force growth is projected to continue to trail population growth from 2020 to 2030. In recent decades, the U.S. population has grown faster than the workforce, primarily because of population aging. Over the next 10 years, this trend is projected to continue.

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

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