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BLS celebrates National Agriculture Week

March 20, 2024

During National Agriculture Week, we celebrate the contribution of agriculture in maintaining a strong economy and the farmers, farmworkers, ranchers, fishers, foresters, and other agricultural workers who do so much to steward our lands and feed our families. Let's see what BLS data from the Occupational Outlook Handbook tell us about employment and wages for some agriculture-related occupations.

Agricultural occupations job outlook, projected 2022–32; and employment and pay, 2022
Occupation Job outlook, projected 2022–32
(percent change)
Employment change, projected 2022–32 Average annual occupational openings, projected 2022-32 Number of jobs, 2022 Median pay, per year, 2022
(dollars)

Farmers, ranchers, and other agricultural managers

-5 -42,300 88,800 922,900 75,760

Agricultural workers

-2 -16,000 115,700 804,600 33,290

Agricultural and food scientists

6 2,100 3,000 35,400 74,940

Agricultural and food science technicians

5 1,900 5,500 38,800 46,140

Agricultural engineers

6 100 100 1,600 83,260

Note: Median pay data exclude self-employed workers.

Farmers and ranchers manage establishments that produce crops, livestock, and dairy products. In 2022, there were 922,900 jobs in occupations classified as farmers, ranchers, and other agricultural managers with median annual earnings of $75,760. Over the 2022–32 projections period, employment in these occupations is expected to decrease by 42,300 or 5 percent. Despite the decline, about 88,800 openings are projected each year, on average, over the decade of the projections period. These openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to other occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.

Agricultural workers numbered 804,600 in 2022, with median annual earnings of $33,290. These workers maintain crops and tend livestock, usually working outdoors in all weather. The number of agricultural worker jobs is also projected to decrease between 2022 and 2032, declining by 16,000, or 2 percent, but 115,700 openings are projected each year over the decade due to replacement needs.

Employment of agricultural and food scientists and agricultural and food science technicians is expected to increase by 6 percent and 5 percent, respectively, over the projections period. These workers research ways to improve the efficiency and safety of agricultural establishments and products. At fewer than 40,000 each, the number of jobs in these occupations was much lower than farmers and ranchers and agricultural workers. Median annual earnings were $74,940 for agricultural and food scientists and $46,140 for agricultural and food science technicians.

The number of agricultural engineers is also projected to increase by 6 percent from 2022 to 2032. These engineers solve problems concerning power supplies, machine efficiency, the use of structures and facilities, pollution and environmental issues, and the storage and processing of agricultural products. There were 1,600 agricultural engineering jobs, with median annual earnings of $83,260, in 2022.   
 
For more information about these and hundreds of other occupations, use the Occupational Outlook Handbook Occupation Finder. The 2022–32 projected growth rate for all occupations is 3 percent, and the 2022 median annual wage for all workers was $46,310. Median (or 50th percentile) earnings are the midpoint in an earnings distribution; half of workers earn more than the median and half earn less.

SUGGESTED CITATION

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, BLS celebrates National Agriculture Week at https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2024/bls-celebrates-national-agriculture-week.htm (visited May 25, 2024).

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