Data recently released from US Department of Labor, Office of Foreign Labor Certification, indicates that U.S. farmers and ranchers are continuing to demand an increasingly large number of foreign workers via the H-2A Program. In the third quarter of FY2018, DOL certified 81,418 positions nationally, which is up more than 29 percent from the third quarter of FY2017 when DOL certified 63,072 positions. Even more impressive, Q3 2018 position certifications are more than 160 percent larger than the same period just five years ago.
Higher certifications in the third quarter follow the 15 percent year on year increase that occurred in the first quarter and the 16 percent year on year increase that occurred in the second quarter. When combined, the total number of positions certified in the first three quarters of 2018 are up 21 percent compared to the same three quarters of FY 2017.
Between 2013 and 2017 the year-over-year growth in number of positions certified in the fourth quarter has grown by an average of 23 percent. If this trend continues in Q4 of2018, the U.S. will have certified more than 242,000 positions. The previous record was set in FY2017, when DOL certified 200,320 total positions.