Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Decline of agricultural labour in the EU

EU agricultural labour down by nearly 25% since 2000

Agricultural labour in the EU has decreased by 24.9% since 2000 which, in terms of AWU, represents a drop of 3.7 million from 14.9 million AWU in 2000 to 11.2 million AWU in EU-27 in 2009. Because many farmers and farm workers are only employed part-time in agriculture, the number of people actually working in agriculture is greater than the number of annual work units.

Measured as a percentage of the total active population in the EU, agricultural labour input in AWU accounted for 4.7% in 2009 (based on active population 2008) compared to 6.7% in 2000. In EU-15 the respective percentages in 2009 were 2.8 as against 3.8 in 2000, although the shares – and the changes – in the 12 new Member States were much higher.

In 2009 agricultural labour input represented 12.1% in the 12 new Member States as a percentage of active population, while the percentage in 2000 was 17.3%, signifying that the fall in agricultural labour input on average in the 12 new Member States is equivalent to more than 5 per cent of the active population. It should be noted that these countries entered EU and the Common agricultural policy after 2000.

The rates of decrease in agricultural labour input in the individual countries range from 2.6% in Greece to 55% in Estonia, where labour input has more than halved in less than 10 years. Generally speaking, the decrease is lowest in the EU-15 countries, but also in Poland (−11.3%), which makes it an exception among the 12 new Member States. Portugal, on the other hand, is in the opposite situation: its decrease of 31.6% shows a trend similar to the average decrease in labour input for the 12 new Member States (−31.3%).

Despite the steep falls recorded in the new Member States, agricultural labour input in these countries in 2009 accounted for a little over half (51.7%) of EU-27 agricultural labour input.

The figures for agricultural labour input are recorded in the Economic accounts for agriculture as 'Non-salaried labour input' and 'Salaried labour input', respectively. Since 2000, non-salaried labour input, which represents the largest share in almost all countries (except the Czech Republic and Slovakia), fell by 28.3% in the EU-27, while the salaried portion decreased only by 9.6%.

(From the Eurostat website)

1 comment:

Nuno said...

Interesting figures, thanks for sharing.

What is considered an "agriculture worker"? Since most of the activities related to industrial agriculture are highly specialized, do fertilizer industry workers, truckers or farm equipment manufacturers, for example, count also, since they're directly dependent on the sector?