Economic Research Report No. (ERR-3) 32 pp

April 2005

Structural Change in the Meat, Poultry, Dairy, and Grain Processing Industries

Consolidation and structural changes in the food industry have had profound impacts on firms, employees, and communities in many parts of the United States. Over 1972-92, eight important food industries underwent a structural transformation in which the number of plants declined by about one-third and the number of employees needed to staff the remaining plants dropped by more than 100,000 (20 percent); the number of plants in one other industry also dropped, but that industry added jobs. Economists generally attribute structural changes such as these to rising or falling demand and shifts in technology.

Keywords: Structural change, food processing, consolidation, grain processing, meat slaughter, dairy processing

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