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Jobs Outlook: Industrial Machinery Installation, Repair, and Maintenance Workers, Except Millwrights




Employment of industrial machinery installation, repair, and maintenance workers, except millwrights is projected to grow more slowly than the average for all occupations through 2012. Nevertheless, applicants with broad skills in machine repair and maintenance should have favorable job prospects. Many mechanics are expected to retire in coming years, and employers have reported difficulty in recruiting young workers with the necessary skills to be industrial machinery mechanics. Most job openings will stem from the need to replace workers who transfer to other occupations or who retire or leave the labor force for other reasons.

As more firms introduce automated production equipment, these workers will be needed to ensure that these machines are properly maintained and consistently in operation. However, many new machines are capable of self-diagnosis, increasing their reliability and somewhat reducing the need for repairers. Increasing imports and the relocation of production facilities abroad also are expected to dampen employment growth for these workers.

Unlike many other manufacturing occupations, industrial machinery installation, repair, and maintenance workers, except millwrights are not usually affected by seasonal changes in production. During slack periods, when some plant workers are laid off, mechanics often are retained to do major overhaul jobs and to keep expensive machinery in working order. Although these workers may face layoff or a reduced workweek when economic conditions are particularly severe, they usually are less affected than other workers because machines have to be maintained regardless of production level.