Overall employment of painting and coating workers is expected to grow more slowly than the average for all occupations through the year 2014. Employment growth for highly skilled transportation painters and automotive refinishers is projected to be faster than for painting, coating, and decorating workers. In addition to jobs arising from growth, some jobs will become available each year as employers replace experienced operators who transfer to other occupations or leave the labor force.
Despite increasing demanding more manufactured goods, employment of coating, painting, and spraying machine setters, operators, and tenders is expect to decline as part of that demand will be met by products manufactured abroad. Employment will be further decreased by improvements in the automation of paint and coating applications that will raise worker productivity. For example, operators will be able to coat goods more rapidly as they use sophisticated industrial machinery that moves and aims spray guns more efficiently. Legislation has set limits on the emissions of ozone-forming volatile organic compounds and is expected to impede job growth among operators in manufacturing. As manufacturing firms switch to water-based and powder coatings to comply with the law, they will introduce more efficient automation.
Painting, coating, and decorating workers should grow more slowly than the average for all occupations. Increasing demand for hand-painted tiles and related specialty products will lead to growth among these workers. Although competition from imports should temper increases in employment, the specialized skills required by workers in this occupation should keep them from seeing as much of an impact of automation on employment.
Since the detailed work of refinishing automobiles in collision repair shops and motor vehicle dealerships does not lend itself to automation, painters employed in these establishments are projected to experience employment growth about as fast as the average for all occupations. As the demand for refinishing continues to grow, slower productivity growth among these workers will lead to employment increases that are more in line with the growing demand for their services.
The number of job openings for painting and coating workers in manufacturing industries may fluctuate from year to year due to cyclical changes in economic conditions. When demand for manufactured goods lessens, production may be suspended or reduced, and workers may be laid off or face a shortened workweek. Automotive painters, by contrast, can expect relatively steady work because automobiles damaged in accidents require repair and refinishing regardless of the state of the economy.