Production Occupations

Production occupations are one of two major occupational groups that is projected to decline. Employment is projected to decline 3 percent, with a loss of about 282,100 jobs from 2014 to 2024. Technological advancements are replacing many of the manufacturing workers that make up a large share of the production occupations. Fewer workers are needed in the manufacturing sector as many processes have become computer-controlled.

The median annual wage for production occupations was $32,250 in May 2015, which was lower than the median annual wage for all occupations of $36,200

Assemblers and Fabricators

Assemblers and fabricators assemble finished products and the parts that go into them. They use tools, machines, and their hands to make engines, computers, aircraft, ships, boats, toys, electronic devices, control panels, and more.

Bakers

Bakers mix ingredients according to recipes to make breads, pastries, and other baked goods.

Butchers

Butchers cut, trim, and package meat for retail sale.

Dental and Ophthalmic Laboratory Technicians and Medical Appliance Technicians

Dental and ophthalmic laboratory technicians and medical appliance technicians construct, fit, or repair appliances and devices, including dentures, eyeglasses, and prosthetics.

Food and Tobacco Processing Workers

Food and tobacco processing workers operate equipment that mixes, cooks, or processes ingredients used in the manufacture of food and tobacco products.

Industrial Production Managers

Industrial production managers oversee the daily operations of manufacturing and related plants. They coordinate, plan, and direct the activities used to create a wide range of goods, such as cars, computer equipment, or paper products.

Jewelers and Precious Stone and Metal Workers

Jewelers and precious stone and metal workers design, manufacture, and sell jewelry. They also adjust, repair, and appraise gems and jewelry.

Machinists and Tool and Die Makers

Machinists and tool and die makers set up and operate a variety of computer-controlled and mechanically controlled machine tools to produce precision metal parts, instruments, and tools.

Metal and Plastic Machine Workers

Metal and plastic machine workers set up and operate machines that cut, shape, and form metal and plastic materials or pieces.

Painting and Coating Workers

Painting and coating workers paint and coat, often with machines, a wide range of products, including cars, jewelry, and ceramics.

Power Plant Operators, Distributors, and Dispatchers

Power plant operators, distributors, and dispatchers control the systems that generate and distribute electric power.

Quality Control Inspectors

Quality control inspectors examine products and materials for defects or deviations from specifications.

Stationary Engineers and Boiler Operators

Stationary engineers and boiler operators control stationary engines, boilers, or other mechanical equipment to provide utilities for buildings or for industrial purposes.

Water and Wastewater Treatment Plant and System Operators

Water and wastewater treatment plant and system operators manage a system of machines, often through the use of control boards, to transfer or treat water or wastewater.

Welders, Cutters, Solderers, and Brazers

Welders, cutters, solderers, and brazers use hand-held or remotely controlled equipment to join or cut metal parts. They also fill holes, indentations, or seams of metal products.

Woodworkers

Woodworkers manufacture a variety of products such as cabinets and furniture, using wood, veneers, and laminates. They often combine and incorporate different materials into wood.

Additional Production Occupations

Adhesive Bonding Machine Operators and Tenders

Adhesive Bonding Machine Operators and Tenders operate or tend bonding machines that use adhesives to join items for further processing or to form a completed product.

Chemical Equipment Operators and Tenders

Chemical Equipment Operators and Tenders operate or tend equipment that controls chemical changes or reactions in the processing of industrial or consumer products.

Chemical Plant and System Operators

Chemical Plant and System Operators control or operate entire chemical processes or systems through the use of machines.

Cleaning, Washing, and Metal Pickling Equipment Operators and Tenders

Cleaning, Washing, and Metal Pickling Equipment Operators and Tenders operate or tend machines that wash or clean products, such as barrels or kegs, glass items, tin plates, food, pulp, coal, plastic, or rubber, to remove impurities.

Cooling and Freezing Equipment Operators and Tenders

Cooling and Freezing Equipment Operators and Tenders operate or tend equipment, such as cooling and freezing units, refrigerators, batch freezers, and freezing tunnels, that cools or freezes products, food, blood plasma, and chemicals.

Crushing, Grinding, and Polishing Machine Setters, Operators, and Tenders

Crushing, Grinding, and Polishing Machine Setters, Operators, and Tenders set up, operate, or tend machines to crush, grind, or polish materials, such as coal, glass, grain, stone, food, or rubber.

Cutters and Trimmers (Hand)

Cutters and Trimmers (Hand) use hand tools or hand-held power tools to cut and trim a variety of manufactured items, such as carpet, fabric, stone, glass, or rubber.

Cutting and Slicing Machine Setters, Operators, and Tenders

Cutting and Slicing Machine Setters, Operators, and Tenders set up, operate, or tend machines that cut or slice materials, such as glass, stone, cork, rubber, tobacco, food, paper, or insulating material.

Etchers and Engravers

Etchers and Engravers engrave or etch metal, wood, rubber, or other materials.

Extruding and Forming Machine Setters, Operators, and Tenders (Synthetic and Glass Fibers)

Extruding and Forming Machine Setters, Operators, and Tenders (Synthetic and Glass Fibers) set up, operate, or tend machines that extrude and form continuous filaments from synthetic materials, such as liquid polymer, rayon, and fiberglass.

Extruding, Forming, Pressing, and Compacting Machine Setters, Operators, and Tenders

Extruding, Forming, Pressing, and Compacting Machine Setters, Operators, and Tenders set up, operate, or tend machines, such as glass-forming machines, plodder machines, and tuber machines, to shape and form products, such as glassware, food, rubber, soap, brick, tile, clay, wax, tobacco, or cosmetics.

Fabric and Apparel Patternmakers

Fabric and Apparel Patternmakers draw and construct sets of precision master fabric patterns or layouts.

First-Line Supervisors of Production and Operating Workers

First-Line Supervisors of Production and Operating Workers directly supervise and coordinate the activities of production and operating workers, such as inspectors, precision workers, machine setters and operators, assemblers, fabricators, and plant and system operators.

Furnace, Kiln, Oven, Drier, and Kettle Operators and Tenders

Furnace, Kiln, Oven, Drier, and Kettle Operators and Tenders operate or tend heating equipment other than basic metal-, plastic-, or food-processing equipment.

Gas Plant Operators

Gas Plant Operators distribute or process gas for utility companies and others by controlling compressors to maintain specified pressures on main pipelines.

Grinding and Polishing Workers (Hand)

Grinding and Polishing Workers (Hand) grind, sand, or polish, using hand tools or hand-held power tools, a variety of metal, wood, stone, clay, plastic, or glass objects.

Helpers—Production Workers

Helpers—Production Workers help production workers by performing duties requiring less skill.

Laundry and Dry-cleaning Workers

Laundry and dry-cleaning workers clean clothing, linens, drapes, and other articles, using washing, drying, and dry-cleaning machines.

Layout Workers (Metal and Plastic)

Layout Workers (Metal and Plastic) lay out reference points and dimensions on metal or plastic stock or workpieces, such as sheets, plates, tubes, structural shapes, castings, or machine parts, for further processing.

Meat, Poultry, and Fish Cutters and Trimmers

Meat, poultry, and fish cutters and trimmers use hand or hand tools to perform routine cutting and trimming of meat, poultry, and seafood.

Metal Workers and Plastic Workers (all other)

All metal workers and plastic workers not listed separately.

Mixing and Blending Machine Setters, Operators, and Tenders

Mixing and Blending Machine Setters, Operators, and Tenders set up, operate, or tend machines that mix or blend materials, such as chemicals, tobacco, liquids, color pigments, or explosive ingredients.

Model Makers (Wood)

Model Makers (Wood) construct full-size and scale wooden precision models of products.

Molders, Shapers, and Casters (Except Metal and Plastic)

Molders, Shapers, and Casters (Except Metal and Plastic) mold, shape, form, cast, or carve products, such as food products, figurines, tile, pipes, and candles, consisting of clay, glass, plaster, concrete, stone, or combinations of materials.

Packaging and Filling Machine Operators and Tenders

Packaging and Filling Machine Operators and Tenders operate or tend machines that prepare industrial or consumer products for storage or shipment.

Paper Goods Machine Setters, Operators, and Tenders

Paper Goods Machine Setters, Operators, and Tenders set up, operate, or tend paper goods machines that perform a variety of functions, such as converting, sawing, corrugating, banding, wrapping, boxing, stitching, forming, or sealing paper or paperboard sheets into products.

Patternmakers (Wood)

Patternmakers (Wood) plan, lay out, and construct wooden unit or sectional patterns used in forming sand molds for castings.

Petroleum Pump System Operators, Refinery Operators, and Gaugers

Petroleum Pump System Operators, Refinery Operators, and Gaugers operate or control petroleum-refining or petroleum-processing units.

Photographic Process Workers and Processing Machine Operators

Photographic Process Workers and Processing Machine Operators perform work to develop and process photographic images from film or from digital media.

Plant and System Operators (all other)

All plant and system operators not listed separately.

Prepress Technicians and Workers

Prepress technicians and workers format and proof text and images submitted by designers and clients into finished pages that can be printed.

Pressers (Textile, Garment, and Related Materials)

Pressers (Textile, Garment, and Related Materials) press or shape articles by hand or machine.

Print Binding and Finishing Workers

Print binding and finishing workers bind books and other publications or finish printed products by hand or machine.

Printing Press Operators

Printing press operators set up and operate digital, letterpress, lithographic, flexographic, gravure, or other printing machines.

Production Workers (all other)

All production workers not listed separately.

Semiconductor Processors

Semiconductor processors oversee the manufacturing of semiconductor devices, which are commonly known as integrated circuits or microchips.

Separating, Filtering, Clarifying, Precipitating, and Still Machine Setters, Operators, and Tenders

Separating, Filtering, Clarifying, Precipitating, and Still Machine Setters, Operators, and Tenders set up, operate, or tend continuous-flow or vat-type equipment; filter presses; shaker screens; centrifuges; condenser tubes; precipitating, fermenting, or evaporating tanks; scrubbing towers; or batch stills.

Sewers (Hand)

Sewers (Hand) sew, join, reinforce, or finish, usually with needle and thread, a variety of manufactured items.

Sewing Machine Operators

Sewing Machine Operators operate or tend sewing machines to join, reinforce, decorate, or perform related sewing operations in the manufacture of garments or nongarment products.

Shoe and Leather Workers and Repairers

Shoe and Leather Workers and Repairers construct, decorate, or repair leather and leather-like products, such as luggage, shoes, and saddles.

Shoe Machine Operators and Tenders

Shoe Machine Operators and Tenders operate or tend a variety of machines to join, decorate, reinforce, or finish shoes and shoe parts.

Slaughterers and Meat Packers

Slaughterers and meat packers work in slaughtering, meat packing, or wholesale establishments performing precision functions involving the preparation of meat.

Tailors, Dressmakers, and Custom Sewers

Tailors, Dressmakers, and Custom Sewers design, make, alter, repair, or fit garments.

Textile, Apparel, and Furnishings Workers (all other)

All textile, apparel, and furnishings workers not listed separately.

Textile Bleaching and Dyeing Machine Operators and Tenders

Textile Bleaching and Dyeing Machine Operators and Tenders operate or tend machines that bleach, shrink, wash, dye, or finish textiles or synthetic or glass fibers.

Textile Cutting Machine Setters, Operators, and Tenders

Textile Cutting Machine Setters, Operators, and Tenders set up, operate, or tend machines that cut textiles.

Textile Knitting and Weaving Machine Setters, Operators, and Tenders

Textile Knitting and Weaving Machine Setters, Operators, and Tenders set up, operate, or tend machines that knit, loop, weave, or draw in textiles.

Textile Winding, Twisting, and Drawing Out Machine Setters, Operators, and Tenders

Textile Winding, Twisting, and Drawing Out Machine Setters, Operators, and Tenders set up, operate, or tend machines that wind or twist textiles; or draw out and combine sliver, such as wool, hemp, or synthetic fibers.

Tire Builders

Tire Builders operate machines that build tires.

Tool Grinders, Filers, and Sharpeners

Tool Grinders, Filers, and Sharpeners perform precision smoothing, sharpening, polishing, or grinding of metal objects.

Upholsterers

Upholsterers make, repair, or replace upholstery for household furniture or transportation vehicles.

Woodworkers (all other)

All woodworkers not listed separately.

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