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Workers in this group operate machines and other equipment to assemble goods or distribute energy.
Overall employment in production occupations is projected to decline 2 percent from 2021 to 2031, resulting in a decrease of about 163,600 jobs over the decade. Despite declining employment, opportunities are expected to arise from the need to replace workers who leave their occupations permanently. About 989,900 openings each year, on average, are projected to come from replacement needs.
The median annual wage for this group was $37,710 in May 2021, which was lower than the median annual wage for all occupations of $45,760.
BLS employment projections, wage, and other data for related occupations not shown in the following table are available on the Data for Occupations Not Covered in Detail page. Information highlighting physical demands, cognitive and mental requirements, and other qualifications for workers in this group are available in a BLS Occupational Requirements Survey (ORS) profile.
|OCCUPATION||JOB SUMMARY||ENTRY-LEVEL EDUCATION||2021 MEDIAN PAY|
|Assemblers and Fabricators||
Assemblers and fabricators build finished products and the parts that go into them.
|High school diploma or equivalent||$37,170|
Bakers mix ingredients according to recipes in order to make breads, pastries, and other baked goods.
|No formal educational credential||$29,750|
Butchers cut, trim, and package meat for retail sale.
|No formal educational credential||$36,050|
|Dental and Ophthalmic Laboratory Technicians and Medical Appliance Technicians||
Dental and ophthalmic laboratory technicians and medical appliance technicians make or repair dentures, eyeglasses, prosthetics, and related products.
|High school diploma or equivalent||$39,090|
|Food Processing Equipment Workers||
Food processing equipment workers operate machinery that mixes, cooks, or processes ingredients for manufacturing food products.
|See How to Become One||$35,430|
|Jewelers and Precious Stone and Metal Workers||
Jewelers and precious stone and metal workers design, construct, adjust, repair, appraise and sell jewelry.
|High school diploma or equivalent||$46,640|
|Machinists and Tool and Die Makers||
Machinists and tool and die makers set up and operate equipment to produce precision metal parts, instruments, and tools.
|See How to Become One||$47,940|
|Metal and Plastic Machine Workers||
Metal and plastic machine workers set up and operate equipment that cuts, shapes, and forms metal and plastic materials or pieces.
|See How to Become One||$38,040|
|Painting and Coating Workers||
Painting and coating workers apply finishes, often using machines, to a range of products.
|See How to Become One||$38,670|
|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||$94,790|
|Quality Control Inspectors||
Quality control inspectors examine products and materials for defects or deviations from specifications.
|High school diploma or equivalent||$38,580|
|Stationary Engineers and Boiler Operators||
Stationary engineers and boiler operators control stationary engines, boilers, or other mechanical equipment.
|High school diploma or equivalent||$63,500|
|Water and Wastewater Treatment Plant and System Operators||
Water and wastewater treatment plant and system operators manage a system of machines to transfer or treat water or wastewater.
|High school diploma or equivalent||$47,880|
|Welders, Cutters, Solderers, and Brazers||
Welders, cutters, solderers, and brazers use hand-held or remotely controlled equipment to join, repair, or cut metal parts and products.
|High school diploma or equivalent||$47,010|
Woodworkers manufacture a variety of products, such as cabinets and furniture, using wood, veneers, and laminates.
|High school diploma or equivalent||$36,710|
The wage at which half of the workers in the occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. Median wage data are from the BLS Occupational Employment Statistics survey.
Typical level of education that most workers need to enter this occupation.
Last Modified Date: Thursday, September 8, 2022