More than two years into the COVID-19 pandemic, the food and agriculture industries continue to add jobs, provide safe food and feed the U.S. economy in the face of global supply chain challenges and more. That’s the finding of the 2022 Feeding the Economy report, a nationwide economic impact study commissioned by 30 food and agriculture groups.
The farm-to-fork economic analysis reveals how these sectors influence the local and broader U.S. economies. Together, America’s food and agriculture industries are responsible for roughly one-fifth of the country’s economic activity, directly supporting nearly 21.5 million jobs or more than 14% of U.S. employment.
This economic impact starts from the ground up—literally—in the rich soil of America’s farms and ranches, which cover two out of every five acres across the U.S.
Meanwhile, millions of food scientists, production workers, logistics experts, truck drivers and engineers work in more than 200,000 food manufacturing, processing and storage facilities to keep supply chains resilient and fresh, safe food readily available worldwide.
The journey may conclude at one of the nation’s more than 1 million restaurant locations or make its way from one of America’s more than 100,000 retail grocers to homes and gatherings.
The report’s findings show that 7% of the nation’s economy and 29% of American jobs are linked to food and agriculture, either directly or indirectly. These sectors also exported $182.91 billion worth of goods, helping the U.S. maintain its position as a leading player in global agriculture. In 2021, these industries contributed a total of $3.01 trillion to the U.S. economy.
In addition to providing insights on nationwide impact, the report breaks down the impact by state and congressional district. Key findings include:
- Total jobs: 43,464,211
- Total wages: $2.3 trillion
- Total taxes: $718.15 billion
- Exports: $182.91 billion
- Total food and industry economic impact: $7.43 trillion
To measure the total economic impact of the sectors, the analysis also includes the direct and indirect economic activity surrounding these industries, both upstream and downstream. For example, when a farm equipment retailer hires new employees because farmers are buying more tractors, experts consider the new salaries an indirect impact. Similarly, when a retail associate spends her paycheck, an induced economic impact occurs. Together, these have a multiplier effect on the already formidable direct impact of food and agriculture.
This year’s report can be found at www.feedingtheeconomy.com.