VISALIA, Calif. (AP) - As the economy tanked during the past two years, a debate has raged over whether immigrants are taking jobs that Americans want. Amid the sweltering vineyards of the nation's largest farm state, the answer is no.
Most Americans simply don't apply for jobs harvesting fruits and vegetables in California, where one of every eight people is out of work, according to government data for a federal seasonal farmworker program analyzed by The Associated Press.
And the few unemployed Americans who apply through official channels usually don't stay on in the fields.
Since January, California farmers have posted ads for 1,160 farmworker positions open to U.S. citizens and legal residents seeking work.
Only 233 people applied. One grower brought on 36 people. No one else hired any.