The Impact of Food Production on American Employment: Unveiling the Surprising Percentage

Food production is a critical part of the American economy, not just in terms of the food we consume, but also in terms of employment. While only 2% of Americans are directly employed in farming, a surprising number of jobs are tied to the shipping, sale, and preparation of the food produced by these farmers. This article will delve into the impact of food production on American employment and unveil the surprising percentage of Americans involved in this sector.

The Food Production Chain and Employment

The food production chain is a complex system that involves more than just farming. It includes everything from the transportation of raw materials to the sale of finished products in grocery stores and restaurants. Each step in this chain creates jobs, contributing to the overall employment rate in the country.

Transportation and Shipping

Once food is produced, it needs to be transported to various locations for processing, packaging, and distribution. This involves a vast network of truck drivers, warehouse workers, and logistics professionals. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the transportation and warehousing sector employed over 5.1 million people in 2020, many of whom are involved in the food supply chain.

Sale of Food Products

The sale of food products, whether in grocery stores, farmers’ markets, or online platforms, also contributes significantly to employment. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that in 2020, about 15.8 million people were employed in the retail trade sector, with a significant portion involved in the sale of food and beverages.

Food Preparation

Food preparation, including jobs in restaurants, school cafeterias, and catering services, is another major source of employment. In 2020, over 13.2 million people were employed in food services and drinking places, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Unveiling the Surprising Percentage

When you add up the employment in transportation and shipping, sale of food products, and food preparation, it becomes clear that a significant portion of American jobs are tied to the food produced by just 2% of the population. While it’s difficult to determine the exact percentage, it’s safe to say that the food production chain employs millions of Americans, making it a vital part of the U.S. economy.


The impact of food production on American employment extends far beyond the farm. From transportation and shipping to sales and food preparation, the food production chain creates jobs for a significant portion of the American workforce. This underscores the importance of supporting local farmers and food producers, as their work has a far-reaching impact on the economy and employment.