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Employment: Material Moving Occupations




Material movers held 4.9 million jobs in 2002. They were distributed among the detailed occupations as follows:

Laborers and freight, stock, and material movers, hand 2,231,000
Hand packers and packagers 920,000
Industrial truck and tractor operators 594,000
Cleaners of vehicles and equipment 344,000
Machine feeders and offbearers 164,000
First-line supervisors/managers of helpers, laborers, and material movers, hand 147,000
Refuse and recyclable material collectors 134,000
Excavating and loading machine and dragline operators 80,000
Conveyor operators and tenders 58,000
Crane and tower operators 50,000
Tank car, truck, and ship loaders 17,000
Pump operators, except wellhead pumpers 13,000
Wellhead pumpers 11,000
Hoist and winch operators 9,000
Gas compressor and gas pumping station operators 7,300
Loading machine operators, underground mining 4,000
Dredge operators 3,500
Shuttle car operators 3,200
All other material moving workers 78,000

About 29 percent of all material movers worked in the wholesale trade or retail trade industries. About 23 percent worked in manufacturing and 14 percent worked in transportation and warehousing. Significant numbers of material movers also worked in construction and mining. In addition, 13 percent of material moving workers were employed in the employment services industry where they are employed on a temporary or contract basis. For example, companies that need workers for only a few days, to move materials or to clean up a site, may contract with temporary help agencies specializing in providing suitable workers on a short-term basis. A small proportion of material movers were self-employed.

Material movers work in every part of the country. Some work in remote locations on large construction projects, such as highways and dams, or in factory or mining operations.