Employment of food and tobacco processing workers is projected to grow 2 percent from 2014 to 2024, slower than the average for all occupations.
Population growth and continuing consumer preference for convenience foods are expected to drive employment of these workers, particularly in retail trade establishments, such as grocery or specialty food stores.
Food manufacturing companies increasingly are using automation to raise productivity. For example, they use equipment that automatically weighs and mixes ingredients, requiring fewer processing workers. As these companies further consolidate their facilities and streamline production processes, they will need fewer workers to operate machines.
The need to replace food and tobacco processing workers who leave the occupation should result in many job openings each year. Those with related work experience in manufacturing will have the best job opportunities.
The food processing industry continues to consolidate. As a result, job prospects should be best in large food processing facilities, which are commonly located in rural areas or near smaller cities.
Food and Tobacco Processing Workers
Percent change in employment, projected 2014-24
Total, all occupations
Food and tobacco processing workers
Note: All Occupations includes all occupations in the U.S. Economy. Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Projections program