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Job Report: Some positives for ag, despite pandemic

abluecup/iStock/Getty Images job search key on computer keyboard
The Midwest had over half the total ag jobs posted at in 2020, with Illinois the leading state.

2020 was challenging, but it provided areas of opportunity and growth, particularly for indispensable industries like agriculture. annually reviews trends in jobs, candidates, and site activity in our Agribusiness Job Report. This review of trends helps us identify where we’re going and make our way forward.

It’s no surprise that the average unemployment rate experienced staggering increases in 2020. In a stark contrast to last year’s report, the 2020 unemployment rate in the United States more than doubled, with an average monthly unemployment rate of 8.11%. Though the general uneasiness of the markets, the essential nature of the global agricultural industry aids in its stability.

Candidate trends

Candidates continue actively pursuing careers in agriculture and use in the job search process.

The number of candidates’ job alerts increased by 70% (job seekers may subscribe for text and email alerts of new jobs meeting their search criteria) and there was also an increase in candidate resumes added to the database.

When job seekers visit the site, they can search by a variety of methods, with keyword being the simplest. The top 2020 job search words in the U.S. were: 1) sales; 2) intern; 3) marketing; 4) internship; and 5) agronomy.

Applicant location traditionally reflects where the job opportunities are located. Focusing on regional applications, the largest region was the Midwest (42%), followed by the South and West. has qualified job candidate traffic throughout the United States, however, looking at states individually, California and Texas had the most applications.

Sixty-five percent of applicants had a bachelor’s degree or higher. The majority of North American applicants had an ag-based degree (59%), with Ag Business remaining the most common. Twelve percent of applicants were students and 55% were currently or most recently employed in ag occupations. Over one-third of applicants had 10-plus years of experience.

Job trends

Despite the pandemic, U.S. employers posted more than 2,700 job openings every month on Job postings peaked in March and October 2020.

The Midwest had 57% of total jobs posted in the United States. Narrowing in on specific states, Illinois repeated as the top job posting state, followed by Iowa and Nebraska.  

Sales/retail careers continued as the most frequently posted career type, followed by farm & ranch operations/herdsperson/on farm. Technician career type jobs nearly doubled from 2019 to 2020.

When we examine all U.S. jobs, Plant & Soil Sciences, Seed and Biotechnology was the leading industry sector on, followed by Chemical, Pesticide and Fertilizer, and then Equipment, Manufacturing and Technical.

For additional trends and an outlook for 2021, download a copy of the full report at under market research, or click here:  2020 U.S. Agribusiness Job Report.

The opinions of the author are not necessarily those of Farm Futures or Farm Progress. 
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