H-2A Position Certifications Rise, Surprising No One

Market Intel / February 7, 2018

Credit: OSU Special Collections & Archives/Commons 

The Department of Labor provides updates quarterly on the number of applications it receives and the number of positions requested through the H-2A program. DOL recently released data from the first quarter of FY2018, which looked a lot like the first quarter of 2017 – except that demand increased 15 percent year on year. This continues a multi-year trend of significant year-over-year growth that has averaged 16 percent since 2012.

In the first quarter of 2018, the DOL received 2,756 H-2A applications, which requested 33,830 positions. Of those requested, 32,084 positions were certified. This represents a record number of certified positions and is a 109 percent increase over the number of certified positions in 2013, just five years earlier. The increase in first quarter certified positions follows a similar pattern as total certifications throughout a full year. Learn more about that data in a background of the H-2A program which was provided in our October 24, 2017 Market Intel article.

This increase in demand for labor has occurred in spite of steady increases in the Adverse Effect Wage Rate (AEWR), the minimum wage that DOL determines must be offered and paid to U.S. and alien workers by agricultural employers of non-immigrant H-2A visa agricultural workers. The national average in 2018 of $12.20 is up 13 percent compared to five years ago. The smallest increase of slightly more than 6 percent occurred in Colorado, Nevada and Utah. The largest increase over the last five years occurred in California, which saw wages increase by nearly 23 percent. See the state changes to the AEWR wage rate in each state in figures 2 and 3.

Contact:
Veronica Nigh
Economist
(202) 406-3622
veronican@fb.org
 

Share This Article

Credit: OSU Special Collections & Archives/Commons 

In July 2018, after the third quarter H-2A program data was released by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Foreign Labor Certification, we predicted an extremely large number of positions would be certified in the fourth quarter, pushing DOL certifications over the 240,000 mark in fiscal year 2018. With DOL certifying more than 49,000 positions in July, August and September – an increase of over 23 percent from fourth quarter 2017—that projection has been proven correct. A strong fourth quarter brought the total number of certified positions in FY 2018 to 242,762 – an increase of more than 21 percent over FY 2017.

Full Article

The U.S.-China tariff tit-for-tat continued several weeks ago when China imposed another $60 billion in tariffs on U.S. exports, hides were among the casualties of this most recent round.

Full Article