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Jobs Outlook: Material Moving Occupations




Job openings should be numerous because the occupation is very large and turnover is relatively high—characteristic of occupations requiring little formal training. Many openings will arise from the need to replace workers who transfer to other occupations, or who retire or leave the labor force for other reasons.

Employment in material moving occupations will increase more slowly than average for all occupations through 2012. Employment growth will stem from an expanding economy and increased spending on the Nation’s infrastructure, such as highways and bridges. However, equipment improvements, including the growing automation of material handling in factories and warehouses, will continue to raise productivity and moderate the demand for material movers.

Job growth for material movers largely depends on growth in the industries employing them and the type of equipment the workers operate or the materials they handle. For example, employment of operators in manufacturing will decline due to increased automation and efficiency in the production process. On the other hand, employment will grow rapidly in temporary help organizations as firms contract out material moving services. Employment also will grow in warehousing and storage as more firms contract out their warehousing functions to firms that specialize in them.

Both construction and manufacturing are very sensitive to changes in economic conditions, so the number of job openings in these industries may fluctuate from year to year. Although increasing automation may eliminate some manual tasks, new jobs will be created to operate and maintain material moving equipment.