WASHINGTON — Today, in response to requests from stakeholders, 25 food and agriculture groups re-released the seventh annual Feeding the Economy report with new county-level data on the food and agriculture industries’ $8.6 trillion contribution to the U.S. economy. Providing data on jobs, wages, and economic output, this increased granularity offers more specific insights into the food and agriculture sector’s impact on local economic activity and output.
This year’s report shows the U.S. food and agriculture sector directly supports nearly 23 million jobs, provides $927 billion in wages, and is particularly vital to rural communities across America. Notably, the 2023 report reveals that the manufacturing of agricultural products accounts for nearly one-fifth of total manufacturing jobs in the U.S. Overall, more than 46 million jobs are supported across the food and agriculture supply chain, increasing nearly 2% since the 2019 report despite the economic challenges and disruptions associated with the global pandemic.
At county levels of total food output, counties with more urban populations strongly outperformed other areas due to food sales in these areas of higher population density. According to the data, the top five counties for total output in the food industry include Los Angeles County, California ($266.33 billion); Cook County, Illinois ($167.55 billion); Harris County, Texas ($144.57 billion); New York County, New York ($114.19 billion); and Maricopa County, Arizona ($94.18 billion).
When analyzing the top counties for agriculture economic metrics, rural areas thrived. The data shows that the top counties for total direct agriculture output were Lawrence County, Illinois ($4.41 billion); Kern County, California ($4.12 billion); Merced County, California ($3.34 billion); Bertie County, North Carolina ($3.32 billion); and Monterey County, California ($3.09 billion).
All 50 states displayed increased economic output in the 2023 report compared to the 2022 report, largely reflecting a rebound in national economic activity. The largest gains in total output were from Hawaii (31%), North Dakota (26%), New York (23%), Nevada (22%), and Florida (21%). Measured by total food and agriculture output, the top performing counties in each of the highest-growing states included:
- Hawaii: Honolulu County ($22.61 billion)
- North Dakota: Cass County ($10.06 billion)
- New York: New York County ($114.19 billion)
- Nevada: Clark County ($44.57 billion)
- Florida: Miami-Dade County ($64.56 billion)
To see all county-level data, in addition to the previously announced national and state-level metrics, please visit FeedingTheEconomy.com.
Sponsoring Organizations include American Bakers Association, American Beverage Association, American Farm Bureau Federation, American Frozen Food Institute, American Soybean Association, Association of Equipment Manufacturers, Corn Refiners Association, CropLife America, The Fertilizer Institute, FMI – The Food Industry Association, Global Cold Chain Alliance, Institute of Shortening and Edible Oils, International Dairy Foods Association, National Association of State Departments of Agriculture, National Grain and Feed Association, National Grocers Association, National Milk Producers Federation, National Oilseed Processors Association, National Pork Producers Council, North American Meat Institute, Peanut and Tree Nut Processors Association, SNAC International, The Sugar Association, U.S. Dairy Export Council, and U.S. Grains Council.