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Latino Population Impact

The big story in the hog farming industry deals with the ethnic composition and distribution of jobs to Hispanic laborers. The Hispanic population is rapidly growing in North Carolina; from 1993 to 1997 alone there was a Hispanic employment growth rate of nearly 161%, represented in an increase of 57, 106 workers. This statistic alone does not even do justice to the representation of Hispanics in the North Carolina workforce as the statistic does not include any agricultural employment, which is one of the areas where Hispanic employment seems to be the most concentrated (Skaggs 1). Meat Products is the top industry that Hispanics are entering, which also happens to be an industry notorious for low wages.

"In 1997 African Americans were the largest group in this industry (45.2%), followed by Latinos/as at 30.4% of total employment. Whites comprised only 22 % of employment. Latino/a employment surged in meat product factories across the nineties. At the same time White and African American employment declined precipitously. In fact, this industry grew, minimally adding only 393 employees between 1993 and 1997. Focusing on the occupational distributions of Latinos/as, African Americans, and Whites it is clear where within the industry these shifts occurred. Whites and African Americans left the Operative, Laborer, and Service occupations as Latinos/as moved in. Whites had a mixture of very small gains and losses in other occupations. African Americans made strong gains in Craft jobs and to a lesser extent in Managerial positions. The general pattern seems to fit an ethnic succession model, in which Whites move out, African Americans move up, and Latinos/as fill in the bottom. The occupational distributions in 1997 make clear that Managerial, Professional, Technicians, Sales, and Clerical jobs are disproportionately filled by Whites in the meat product industry in North Carolina. So, while meat production looks like a pattern of ethnic succession, rather than Latinos/as displacing African American workers from desirable jobs, it is clearly also the case that African American and Latino/a occupational distributions are much more similar to each other than either are to the White distribution."

Excerpt and table from Latino/a Employment Growth in North Carolina:
Ethnic Displacement or Replacement? Sheryl Skaggs, Donald Tomaskovic-Devey and Jeffrey Leiter. Department of Sociology, North Carolina State University

Hog Farming Wages

The total wages paid in the hog farming industry increased at quite a large rate from 1990-1995 and while the total wages continued to increase into 1999, the rate of increase was much smaller, eventually reaching the point where total wages paid out in 2000 was less than the total of the previous year. At the same time however, the average salary of a worker in the hog farming industry did not change too dramatically during this period from 1990 till 2000. In 1996 there was a 5.06% increase in average salary, and in 1997 there was a 9.86% increase, but for the remaining years, with the exception of the 7.82% increase in 2000, the percent change in average annual salary ranged from -2% to 3.5%. One would initially think that an increase in total wages paid out would correlate into increased wages for the workers, but the change in the number of workers employed plays a large role in this relationship. The percentage change of wages paid correlated closely with average number of workers employed, thereby guaranteeing relative stagnation of the individual annual salaries for the workers.


The overall number of employees in the hog farming industry has decreased in the years 1998 to 2000 which is most likely connected decline in the staewide hog industry that began in 1999 for the first time in the 90's.

© 2004. last updated: April 28, 2004
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