Meat and poultry plants employ close to a third of all U.S. food and beverage manufacturing employees

A chart showing the food and beverage manufacturing employees, by industry in year 2016.

In 2016, the U.S. food and beverage manufacturing sector employed more than 1.5 million people, or just over 1 percent of all U.S. nonfarm employment. Within the U.S. manufacturing sector, food and beverage manufacturing employees accounted for the largest share of employees (14.1 percent). In over 35,000 food and beverage manufacturing plants located throughout the country, these employees were engaged in transforming raw agricultural materials into products for intermediate use or final consumption. Manufacturing jobs include processing, inspecting, packing, janitorial and guard services, product development, recordkeeping, and nonproduction duties such as sales, delivery, advertising, and clerical and routine office functions. Meat and poultry plants employed the largest share of food and beverage manufacturing workers, followed by bakeries, and fruit and vegetable processing plants. This chart appears in ERS’s data product Ag and Food Statistics: Charting the Essentials.

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