Business

Iowa farm workers paid more than U.S. average

They worked more average hours per week this year than in 2015

A worker wears a mask while working on a pig farm in Tipton. (Washington Post photo by David Brown)
A worker wears a mask while working on a pig farm in Tipton. (Washington Post photo by David Brown)

Farm operators in Iowa and Missouri are paying the workers they hire more than the national average.

There were 22,000 workers hired directly by farms in the two states during the reference week of April 10 through April 16, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. They were paid an average wage of $13.17 per hour, up $1.09 per hour from $12.08 per hour in April 2015.

Iowa and Missouri field workers received an average wage of $12.89 per hour in April, up $1.97 from $10.92 per hour in the same month of 2015. Livestock workers earned $13.26 per hour in April, up $1.47 from $11.79 per hour in the same week of April 2015.

The field and livestock worker combined wage rate of $13.10 per hour in April was up $1.80 from $11.30 per hour in April 2015.

Iowa and Missouri farm operators hired 3,000 fewer workers in this year’s reference week compared with the April reference week in 2015. The laborers worked an average of 37.8 hours per week in April, up from 37 hours per week in April 2014.

Nationally, farm operators paid hired workers an average $12 per hour for the same period, up from $11.43 per hour in the USDA’s April 2015 reference week.

Field workers received an average wage of $12.01 per hour and livestock workers earned $13.26 per hour. The field and livestock worker combined wage rate of $12 per hour in April 2016 was up from $11.43 per hour in April 2015.

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The largest percentage increases in the number of hired workers from the April 2015 reference week occurred in Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, Minnesota, Oregon, Washington state and Wisconsin.

The largest percentage decreases in the number of hired workers from the April 2015 reference week occurred in Iowa, Kentucky, Missouri, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia.

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