Employment of shipping, receiving, and traffic clerks is expected to grow more slowly than the average for all occupations through 2014. Job growth will continue to be limited by automation as all but the smallest firms move to reduce labor costs by using computers to store and retrieve shipping and receiving records.
Methods of handling materials have changed significantly in recent years. Large warehouses are increasingly becoming automated, with equipment such as computerized conveyor systems, robots, computer-directed trucks, and automatic data storage and retrieval systems. Automation, coupled with the growing use of hand-held scanners and personal computers in shipping and receiving departments, has increased the productivity of shipping, receiving, and traffic clerks.
Despite technology, job openings will continue to arise because of increasing economic and trade activity and because certain tasks cannot be automated. For example, someone needs to check shipments before they go out and when they arrive, to ensure that everything is in order. In addition, openings will occur because of the need to replace shipping, receiving, and traffic clerks who leave the occupation. Because this is an entry-level occupation, many vacancies are created by a worker’s normal career progression.