WAGES

05.24.134:38 PM ET

Famers Solve Labor Shortage by Raising Pay

Farmer are pursuing a seemingly radical means of retaining workers. They’re paying more

By John Carney

Farm owners have responded to fears of a labor shortage by actually raising wages by a little bit.

The Department of Agriculture reports:

Farm operators paid their hired workers an average wage of $11.91 per hour during the April 2013 reference week, up 4 percent from a year earlier. Field workers received an average of $10.92 per hour, up 4 percent from a year earlier. Livestock workers earned $11.46, up 51 cents. The field and livestock worker combined wage rate, at $11.10 per hour, was up 48 cents from a year earlier. Hired laborers worked an average of 40.3 hours during the April 2013 reference week, compared with 39.2 hours a year earlier.

Maybe someone should tell the Partnership for a New American Economy about this. It's just crazy enough that it may work!

By the way, don't worry about this bankrupting the great American farmer. Farm profits are expected to rise by more than 13 percent this year—to more than double what they were as recently as 2009.

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