News reports from the last growing season seemed to suggest that the labor market grew even tighter in 2017. On Friday October 20, 2017 the Labor Department released the final quarter of data for fiscal year 2017 and seemed to provide evidence that the farm labor tightness was real. DOL’s data revealed that in FY 2017, DOL certified more than 200,000 H-2A positions, a first for the program. This constitutes a 21 percent increase over FY 2016 and a 103 percent increase over 2013. In other words, the number of positions certified by DOL more than doubled over the last five years.
Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Washington and California, in that order, had the largest number of certified H-2A positions in FY2017. This group of five states has been the top users of the program the last three years and was responsible for more than 50 percent of all H-2A certified positions during the last two years,
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