Bureau of Labor Statistics

Production Occupations

Employment in production occupations is projected to show little or no change, with a loss of about 39,000 jobs from 2020 to 2030. Technological advancements are expected to continue to replace many of the manufacturing workers that make up a large share of the production occupations. Fewer workers are expected to be needed in the manufacturing sector as many processes have become computer-controlled.

The median annual wage for production occupations was $37,440 in May 2020, which was lower than the median annual wage for all occupations of $41,950. 

BLS provides summary data, including employment projections, for production occupations not shown in the table on this page. That information is available on the Data for Occupations Not Covered in Detail page.

  Occupation Job Summary Entry-Level Education 2020 MEDIAN PAY
Assemblers and fabricators Assemblers and Fabricators

Assemblers and fabricators build finished products and the parts that go into them.

High school diploma or equivalent $34,970
Bakers Bakers

Bakers mix ingredients according to recipes in order to make breads, pastries, and other baked goods.

No formal educational credential $29,400
butchers and meat cutters image Butchers

Butchers cut, trim, and package meat for retail sale.

No formal educational credential $32,900
Dental laboratory technicians Dental and Ophthalmic Laboratory Technicians and Medical Appliance Technicians

Dental and ophthalmic laboratory technicians and medical appliance technicians construct, fit, or repair medical appliances and devices.

High school diploma or equivalent $38,620
Food and tobacco processing workers Food and Tobacco Processing Workers

Food and tobacco processing workers operate equipment that mixes, cooks, or processes ingredients used in the manufacture of food and tobacco products.

See How to Become One $31,950
Jewelers and precious stone and metal workers Jewelers and Precious Stone and Metal Workers

Jewelers and precious stone and metal workers design, construct, adjust, repair, appraise and sell jewelry.

High school diploma or equivalent $41,900
Machinists and tool and die makers Machinists and Tool and Die Makers

Machinists and tool and die makers set up and operate machine tools to produce precision metal parts, instruments, and tools.

See How to Become One $47,040
Metal and plastic machine workers Metal and Plastic Machine Workers

Metal and plastic machine workers set up and operate equipment that cuts, shapes, and forms metal and plastic materials or pieces.

See How to Become One $38,270
Painting and coating workers Painting and Coating Workers

Painting and coating workers apply finishes, often using machines, to a range of products.

See How to Become One $38,740
Power plant operators, distributors, and dispatchers Power Plant Operators, Distributors, and Dispatchers

Power plant operators, distributors, and dispatchers control the systems that generate and distribute electric power.

High school diploma or equivalent $89,090
Quality control inspectors Quality Control Inspectors

Quality control inspectors examine products and materials for defects or deviations from specifications.

High school diploma or equivalent $40,460
Stationary engineers and boiler operators Stationary Engineers and Boiler Operators

Stationary engineers and boiler operators control stationary engines, boilers, or other mechanical equipment.

High school diploma or equivalent $64,680
Water and liquid waste treatment plant and system operators Water and Wastewater Treatment Plant and System Operators

Water and wastewater treatment plant and system operators manage a system of machines to transfer or treat water or wastewater.

High school diploma or equivalent $49,090
Welders, cutters, solderers, and brazers Welders, Cutters, Solderers, and Brazers

Welders, cutters, solderers, and brazers use hand-held or remotely controlled equipment to join, repair, or cut metal parts and products.

High school diploma or equivalent $44,190
Woodworkers Woodworkers

Woodworkers manufacture a variety of products such as cabinets and furniture, using wood, veneers, and laminates.

High school diploma or equivalent $33,750
Suggested citation:

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Production Occupations,
at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/production/home.htm (visited September 21, 2021).

Last Modified Date: Wednesday, September 8, 2021

Telephone: 1-202-691-5700 www.bls.gov/ooh Contact OOH

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