The Labor Force in Austria's Agriculture and Forestry
In 1991, according to the population census, the number of persons active in agriculture and forestry was 26 percent below the level recorded for 1981. The extrapolation of the number of self-employed and of family-workers by means of the yearly rates of change in the number of persons covered by farmers' health insurance has tracked this decline quite well. This method, which WIFO has employed over many years, will be retained in the future. Between 1981 and 1991, 122,100 persons have left employment in agriculture; 89 percent withdrew from the labor market altogether, while 11 percent moved to different sectors of economic activity (compared to 21 percent in the 1970s). During the period from 1981 to 1991, 42 percent of those withdrawing from the labor market were replaced by young persons. This figure reached only 30 percent during the period from 1971 to 1981. Between the census years 1961 and 1991 the replacement rates had a tendency to rise while the rates of job changers declined. As a consequence, the decrease in the number of persons active in agriculture has slowed down. This process seems, however, to have been reversed at the end of the 1980s. The years since 1991 have seen the most pronounced sustained decline in the number of persons active in agriculture since 1945. Now, a marked decline in the replacement rate tends to accelerate the shrinking process. To a higher degree than before, the sons and daughters of farmers leave the farm and seek education in a non-farm occupation. It can be expected that many of them will retain their occupation after taking over the farm from their parents and will either run the farm on a part-time basis, or will lease or sell the farm. In general, the number of persons active in agriculture tended to decline during extended periods of small production gains and large income losses. The decrease in the number of jobs in agriculture also accelerated at times when the overall labor market was tight.
Arbeitskräfte in Österreichs Land- und Forstwirtschaft; The Labor Force in Austria's Agriculture and Forestry
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