In 2002, agriculture, forestry, and fishing employed a total of about 2.2 million workers including self-employed and unpaid family workers, making it one of the largest industries in the Nation. This industry is unusual in that self-employed and unpaid family workers account for almost 46 percent of its workforce. The vast majority of these workers-about 2 million-were employed in the agricultural products subsector of this industry. Among all workers in agriculture, forestry and fishing industry, more than 1.2 million were wage and salary workers, while slightly more than 1 million were self-employed and unpaid family workers.
Agriculture, forestry, and fishing is one of the few remaining areas of the economy in which unpaid family workers remain a significant part of the workforce. Most unpaid family workers assist with the farmwork or fishing, but a small number do bookkeeping, purchase supplies, or arrange the sale of crops, livestock, or the daily catch.
Most individual agricultural-production establishments employ fewer than 5 workers.
Workers in agriculture, forestry, and fishing tend to be older than workers in other industries. In 2002, 50 percent of workers were aged 45 or older, compared with about 38 percent of all workers in all industries.