Management Economics

Trends in U.S. Pork Industry Employment

  • Terrance M. Hurley (University of Minnesota, Twin Cities)
  • James Kliebenstein (Iowa State University)
  • Peter F. Orazem (Iowa State University)


The comparison of the 1990, 1995, and 1999 National Pork Producers Council/National Hog Farmer (NPPC/NHF) surveys reveal a number of positive trends in employee relations and management in the U.S. pork industry. However, it also points to areas of continued weaknesses. Educational attainment has increased for both employers and producers, which suggests the industry is creating higher paying jobs for skilled workers. This suspicion is confirmed by strong wage growth that has exceeded that of the average civilian worker. Although the average annual wage of respondents in 1990 was about 20% less than for the average civilian worker, the average annual wage of respondents in 1999 was only about 6% less than for the average civilian worker. However, the trend in employee benefits is not as clearly positive. Although more employers appear to be offering paid time off, sick leave, pensions, and incentive pay, fewer are offering medical, dental, and life insurance coverage. Medical coverage is an important benefit, which makes it troubling to see declines in employer provision. It also makes it understandable why employers and producers are both concerned about benefits. Employees enjoyed a better work environment and more time off on the weekend in 1999, but still worked long hours and 6 days a week on average. It is unclear whether producers are taking more advantage of important management tools such as employee handbooks, written job descriptions and work plans, and employee evaluations.

Keywords: ASL R673

How to Cite:

Hurley, T. M., Kliebenstein, J. & Orazem, P. F., (2001) “Trends in U.S. Pork Industry Employment”, Iowa State University Animal Industry Report 1(1).

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Published on
01 Jan 2001
Peer Reviewed