Pork Demand Up; Labor Issues Continue
“Consumer pork demand has been very strong over the past two years. And as we head into 2023 There are several important factors to watch. The first being that consumer real incomes continued to decline compared to a year ago due to rising prices for things like groceries, housing, and energy, and lower real incomes could lead to weaker demand for things like meat and pork. But on the positive side, if pork remains a relatively affordable protein option, and if consumer preferences for pork products are sustained, that would be positive for demand this year.”
Cook says that labor force issues continue to be an issue for pork producers.
“So far this year, the available reports show that there's still little slack in the national labor market, with very low unemployment and more than 11 million job openings in the US and data on hog farm employment specifically shows that average wages increased about 10% Over the past year, while the number of employees was down 2%. So given the long-term labor force projections and additional challenges that we have in rural areas, it seems that the solution to pork industry labor issues will need to come through agricultural visa reform.”
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