Despite declining employment, excellent job opportunities are expected. Employers in certain parts of the country report difficulty attracting qualified applicants. The number of workers receiving training in this occupation is expected to continue to be fewer than the number of openings created each year by tool and die makers who retire or transfer to other occupations. A major factor limiting the number of people entering the occupation is that many young people who have the educational and personal qualifications necessary to learn tool and die making may prefer to attend college or may not wish to enter production occupations.
Employment of tool and die makers is projected to decline over the 2004-14 period because of strong foreign competition and advancements in automation, including CNC machine tools and computer-aided design, that should improve worker productivity. On the other hand, tool and die makers play a key role in building and maintaining advanced automated manufacturing equipment. As firms invest in new equipment, modify production techniques, and implement product design changes more rapidly, they will continue to rely heavily on skilled tool and die makers for retooling.