Overall employment of hand laborers and material movers is projected to grow 5 percent from 2014 to 2024, about as fast as the average for all occupations. Projected employment changes will vary by occupation.
Employment of cleaners of vehicles and equipment is projected to grow 10 percent from 2014 to 2024, faster than the average for all occupations. Demand for automotive repair and maintenance services, as well as a growing automobile dealers industry, are expected to drive employment growth of cleaners of vehicles and equipment.
Employment of refuse and recyclable material collectors is projected to grow 7 percent from 2014 to 2024, about as fast as the average for all occupations. Trash collection will likely continue to grow as the population grows, and collectors will be needed to remove trash.
Employment of hand laborers and freight, stock, and material movers is projected to grow 5 percent from 2014 to 2024, about as fast as the average for all occupations. Although some warehouses are installing equipment such as high-speed conveyors and sorting systems to increase efficiency, these workers will still be needed to move materials in nearly all sectors of the economy.
Employment of hand packers and packagers is projected to grow 2 percent from 2014 to 2024, slower than the average for all occupations. Grocery stores, which employ many hand packers and packagers, may employ fewer baggers as a growing number of cashiers bag groceries themselves. However, those employed in warehouses are expected to experience some employment gains as the industry grows.
Employment of machine feeders and offbearers is projected to decline 3 percent from 2014 to 2024. Many of these workers are employed in manufacturing industries, where some functions are automated, requiring fewer of these workers.
Job prospects for hand laborers and material movers are expected to be very good. The need to replace workers who leave these occupations should create a large number of job openings.
Hand Laborers and Material Movers
Percent change in employment, projected 2014-24
Total, all occupations
Hand laborers and material movers
Material moving workers
Note: All Occupations includes all occupations in the U.S. Economy. Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Projections program