Michigan's Farmworkers: A Status Report on Employment and Housing


Refugio I. Rochin & Marcelo E. Siles

Document Id: CIFRAS-02

This statistical brief highlights the patterns of employment, the economic status of workers, and their housing in Michigan’s agriculture industry. Although the employment of seasonal workers has tended to decline, the employment of regular workers has increased. The decline in seasonal farm labor is statewide and the increase in regular workers is notably found in West Central and South West Michigan, areas with nurseries, fruit, and vegetable production. The increase in nominal wages for farmworkers is a positive sign. The lack of increases in wages is a sign for concern. Farmworker earnings have not improved in terms of purchasing power. In general, farmworkers with fewer than 150 days of annual employment at current wages live in poverty. They may need social services and welfare to support their families. Housing has tended to decline since 1966. Having year-round housing may be an increasing problem as farms turn to more regular, year-round hired labor, especially in agricultural West Central and South West Michigan.

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