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 $31,720 in May 2014, which was lower than the median annual wage for all occupations of $35,540. 

  OCCUPATION JOB SUMMARY ENTRY-LEVEL EDUCATION Help 2014 MEDIAN PAY Help
Assemblers and fabricators

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.

High school diploma or equivalent $29,280
Bakers

Bakers

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

No formal educational credential $23,600
butchers and meat cutters image

Butchers

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

No formal educational credential $28,660
Dental laboratory technicians

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.

High school diploma or equivalent $33,430
Food and tobacco processing workers

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.

See How to Become One $26,230
Jewelers and precious stone and metal workers

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.

High school diploma or equivalent $36,870
Machinists and tool and die makers

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.

High school diploma or equivalent $41,510
Metal and plastic machine workers

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.

High school diploma or equivalent $33,550
Painting and coating workers

Painting and Coating Workers

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

See How to Become One $33,740
Power plant operators, distributors, and dispatchers

Power Plant Operators, Distributors, and Dispatchers

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

High school diploma or equivalent $72,910
Quality control inspectors

Quality Control Inspectors

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

High school diploma or equivalent $35,330
Stationary engineers and boiler operators

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.

High school diploma or equivalent $56,330
Water and liquid waste treatment plant and system operators

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.

High school diploma or equivalent $44,100
Welders, cutters, solderers, and brazers

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.

High school diploma or equivalent $37,420
Woodworkers

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.

High school diploma or equivalent $28,900

Publish Date: Thursday, December 17, 2015