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Agriculture Workers Across the Eighth District
FRB of St. Louis
2024.04.12
One of the most important economic developments of the past few years is the prevalence of labor shortages. While the exact details have varied across geographies and industries, some degree of labor market tightness has been felt almost everywhere in the U.S. The agricultural sector in the Eighth Federal Reserve District is no exception. Regional contacts have consistently cited labor shortages as a key issue for farmers―on par with input price increases.
Contacts have stated that they‘ve used a variety of strategies to meet labor needs. One key strategy is the use of foreign-born workers, either through seasonal visa programs or otherwise. Examining the share of foreign-­born workers in agriculture across Eighth District states and the nation provides some useful insight: More Eighth District employers have been obtaining H-2 visa workers,1 but the sector as a whole has a lower share of foreign-born workers than the national average due to the region‘s demographic composition and lower immigration rates.