U.S. agricultural exports supported an estimated 1.2 million full-time jobs in 2017

This chart shows total, farm and nonfarm full-time jobs supported by U.S. agricultural exports from 1994 to 2017.

U.S. agricultural exports support output, employment, income, and purchasing power in the overall domestic economy. ERS economists estimate that every $1 billion of U.S. agricultural exports in 2017—the most recent year in which data is available—supported approximately 8,400 American jobs throughout the economy. At $140.2 billion in 2017, agricultural exports supported about 1.2 million full-time jobs. These included 795,000 jobs in the nonfarm sector. Farmers’ purchases (fuel, fertilizer, or other expenses) to produce export commodities also spur economic activity in the manufacturing, trade, and transportation sectors. Data processing, financial, legal, managerial, administrative, and many other types of services are also needed to facilitate the movement of export commodities. Consequently, U.S. agricultural exports support economic activity in both the farm and nonfarm sectors of the domestic economy. In terms of employment growth, sectors outside of farming were the major beneficiaries of U.S. agricultural exports during 2004–17. Starting in 2004, the estimated numbers for farm and nonfarm jobs supported by agricultural exports diverged, with the latter accounting for a rising share of the total employment supported by agricultural exports. This chart appears in the June 2019 ERS Amber Waves article, “U.S. Agricultural Exports Supported 1.2 Million Full-Time Jobs in 2017.”

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