China’s Future Labor Market

Today, agribusiness relies heavily on low-skilled immigrant labor. In some regions, and for some crops, more than 70 percent of the labor is illegal. The best estimate for the sector as a whole, year-round, is 23 percent. Suddenly cutting off this labor supply could have serious implications for agribusiness, as well as the Mexican economy. Nevertheless, more than 70 percent of Americans in recent polls say we need to control the flow of workers across the border. So what are we supposed to do? A big part of the long-term solution involves new computer-controlled equipment that can perform jobs that were once done by hand. What are the specifics? When and how might this transition take place? What are the opportunities and threats for growers and equipment manufacturers? We’ve developed a “bumper crop” of ideas for you to consider.

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