In 2002, the food manufacturing industry provided about 1.5 million jobs. Almost all employees are wage and salary workers, but a few food manufacturing workers are self-employed. In 2002 about 29,000 establishments manufactured food, over 80 percent employing fewer than 50 workers. Nevertheless, establishments employing 250 or more workers accounted for 55 percent of all jobs.
The employment distribution in this industry is widely varied. Animal slaughtering and processing employs the largest proportion of workers. Economic changes in livestock farming and slaughtering plants have changed the industry. Increasingly, fewer farms are producing the vast majority of livestock in the United States. Today, there is a smaller number of much larger meat-processing plants, owned by fewer companies-a development that has tended to concentrated employment in a few locations.
Food manufacturing workers are found in all States, although some sectors of the industry are concentrated in certain parts of the country. For example, California, Illinois, Iowa, Pennsylvania, and Texas employ more than a quarter of workers in animal slaughtering and processing. Wisconsin one-third of all cheese manufacturing workers. California accounts for one-fifth of fruit and vegetable preserving and specialty food manufacturing workers.