More jobs and less seasonal employment in California agriculture since 1990
California Agriculture 77(2):49-56. https://doi.org/10.3733/ca.2023a0008
Published online August 18, 2023
Employment in California agriculture has increased over the past 30 years and has become less seasonal. There were an average of 404,000 farm jobs in California in 2020, 10% more than average employment of 367,000 in 1990. Meanwhile, seasonality, as measured by peak month employment divided by trough month employment, fell 22% over three decades, from 1.8 in 1990 to 1.4 in 2020. Most farmworkers have one farm employer a year, although that employer may be a labor contractor who moves workers from one farm to another. Most new workers in the California farm workforce are H-2A guest workers, the young and flexible Mexican workers who are legally authorized to work in the United States and who are often brought to farms by labor contractors. In the future, rising employment and declining seasonality, combined with an aging and settled farm workforce, may reduce farmworker migration and flexibility.