Labor Shortage Vexes California Farmers

There are more jobs in the fields than there are workers to fill them..

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    NEWSLETTERS

    AP

    There's plenty of work in the fields and orchards -- but fewer and fewer workers.

    California farmers are watching crops rot on vines and trees and planting less fruits and vegetables due to an ongoing shortage of agricultural labor, according to the Contra Costa Times.

    There are now 800,000 farm workers in California, down from  1.1 million in 2001.

    The labor shortage means more and more farmers are relying on mechanized labor, which means fewer jobs in the future -- and more machines.

    In the past, migrant Mexican labor provided most of the manual hands needed by planters, the newspaper reported. But with the Mexican economy improving, and with increased border enforcement making it harder to cross the border, net migration has slowed to zero -- and, according to some studies, more Mexicans are now leaving the United States to return to Mexico.

    They left their jobs -- and now nobody is picking them up.