The gap in hours worked between hired workers and self-employed and unpaid workers largely disappeared between 1948 and 2017

A line graph showing the billions of hours worked by both self-employed and unpaid family workers and hired workers from 1948 to 2017.

Total U.S. farm output almost tripled from 1948 to 2017, though total labor hours in the farm sector declined more than 80 percent. The quality of agricultural labor, as measured by educational attainment and other labor attributes, increased over this time. Economic Research Service researchers determined that for farm labor, the growth in human capital attributes, such as education, mitigated the negative effects from a decline in farm labor hours worked.

Download larger size chart (2048 pixels by 1370, 144 dpi)