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LU Production Occupations ISBN 0-16-043066-6  0  Reprinted from the Occupational Outlook Handbook, 1994-95 Edition  ------ -  U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics  78 Id>0 43C 6  Bulletin 2450-19  i  ; ;  * * 4  .  • jj • mm . i FMil I - ? • mS*  2 1  k  Iff If fi :  ....   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  !  I ilia I  s'.  4**i* **4  O-  !  •  lit//  5*  0  c  t.lri J Apparel Workers (List of D.O.T. codes available on request from the Chief, Division of Occupational Outlook, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Washington, DC 20212.)  Nature of the Work  Apparel workers transform cloth, as well as leather and fur, into clothing and other consumer products. Many of these workers also care for these products and do alterations. (Some items that we think of as apparel, such as socks or pantyhose, are produced in knitting mills. Workers who are employed in these factories are clas­ sified as textile rather than as apparel workers. A separate statement on textile machinery operators is presented in this section of the Handbook.) Apparel production begins with a design, created by a designer, that has been made into a sample product. (A separate statement on designers is presented elsewhere in the Handbook.) Because these goods are to be mass produced, a pattern must be developed. This is usually done with the aid of a computer. Once the pattern has been created, the fabric must be spread and cut. Many layers of material are spread on the cutting table, depend­ ing on the number of products needed, as well as the weight and quality of the material. Workers known as markers must determine the best arrangement or layout of the pattern pieces to minimize waste. In most plants, this step depends on the judgment of the worker. Increasingly, however, computers are used to determine the optimum arrangement of the pattern pieces. Using an electric knife or other cutting tool, other workers cut out the various pieces of material following the outline of the pattern. On especially delicate or valuable items, this may be done by hand. Workers must pay close attention to detail because a mistake in the cutting process can ruin many yards of material. In more automated firms, electronic copies of layouts are sent to computer-controlled cutting machines. Workers then monitor the machine. Once the ma­ terial has been cut, it is ready to be sewn together into a shirt, knap­ sack, dress, or other product. Most sewing is done by sewing machine operators, who are classi­ fied by the type of machine and the type of product on which they work. Because each product requires a variety of sewing opera­ tions—and all of these cannot be done on the same machine—com­ panies producing apparel have many types of specialized sewing ma­ chines. Sewing machine operators’ skills vary by the type of machine on which they work. Sewing machine operators are also categorized by the specific product they produce. The most basic division, however, is between sewing machine operators who produce clothing and those who pro­ duce such items as towels, sheets, and curtains. Both garment and nongarment machine operators usually specialize in a single opera­ tion, such as bindings, collars, or hems. Because of the value and delicate nature of some materials, sew­ ing may be done by hand rather than on a machine. Hand sewers are highly skilled workers who may specialize in a particular operation, such as sewing buttonholes or adding lace or other trimming. They also may work with the designer to make a sample of a new product. When sewing operations have been completed, workers remove loose threads, basting stitching, and lint from the finished product. Final inspection of the product may be done at this time. The shape and appearance of certain finished products depend, to a large extent, on the pressing that is done at different stages of pro­ duction. Pressing may be done by hand or by pressing machines. Some pressers specialize in a particular garment part; others are re­ sponsible for the final pressing before the product is shipped to the store.  2  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Not all apparel goods are mass produced. Some people prefer clothing made especially for them. Custom tailors make garments from start to finish—including taking measurements and helping the customer select the right fabric—and must be knowledgeable in all phases of clothing production. Many work in retail outlets, where they make alterations and adjustments to ready-to-wear clothing. Inspectors are found in all stages of the production process. (For a more detailed discussion of this occupation, see the statement on inspectors, testers, and graders elsewhere in the Handbook.) They may mark defects in uncut fabric so that layout workers can posi­ tion the pattern to avoid them, or they may mark defects in semifin­ ished garments, which they may repair themselves or send back to be mended. Many apparel workers are employed by small firms that lack the capital resources to invest in new, more efficient equipment. Be­ cause of this, the nature of the work for many apparel workers has been less affected by the increased use of technology. Nevertheless, in larger firms that have modernized their facilities, some operations are computerized, and some of the product-moving operations are done by automated material handling systems. In addition, many firms increasingly are using modular manufacturing systems. In these systems, which often reduce production time while increasing product quality, operators work together in a module or group. Al­ though each worker specializes in one operation, most are crosstrained in the various operations performed within the group. Not only do operators have more communication with other workers, they are also given responsibility for running the module, including correcting problems, scheduling, and monitoring standards. Working Conditions  Working conditions in apparel production vary by establishment and by the type of job. Older factories tend to be congested and poorly lit and ventilated, but more modern facilities are usually bet­ ter planned, have more work space, and are well lighted and venti­ lated. Some new facilities are even carpeted. Due to the nature of the work and the machinery being used, sewing and pressing areas are usually noisy, whereas pattemmaking and spreading areas are qui­ eter. Laundries and drycleaning establishments are often hot and noisy; retail stores, on the other hand, generally are relatively quiet and comfortable. Most persons in apparel occupations work a standard 5-day, 35to 40-hour week. Some apparel manufacturers are adding a second shift to justify the expense of new machinery. Also, those employed  "Mt" Opportunities for apparel workers should be best for those interested in a job as a custom tailor or pressing machine operator.  For sale by the U.S. Government Printing Office Superintendent of Documents, Mail Stop: SSOP, Washington, DC 20402-9328  ISBN 0-16-043066-6  in retail stores and in laundry and drycleaning establishments may work evening and weekend hours. Apparel production work can be physically demanding. Some workers sit for long periods, and others spend long hours on their feet, leaning over tables and operating machinery. However, new machinery and production techniques have decreased the physical demand upon workers. For example, newer pressing machines are now operated by foot pedals or computer controls and don’t require much strength to operate. Although there are no serious dangers or health hazards associated with apparel occupations, operators must be attentive while running equipment such as sewing machines, pressers, and automated cutters. A few workers must use protective devices such as gloves. In some areas of apparel production, the emphasis on individual performance is shifting to an emphasis on teamwork and coopera­ tion. Incentive programs may also be based on a team’s perform­ ance. The team or module often has managerial authority over itself, increasing the overall responsibility of each operator and allowing more interpersonal contact. It also means that groups and individ­ ual sewing machine operators are under pressure to improve their performance while maintaining quality. Employment  Apparel workers held 986,000 jobs in 1992. Almost 70 percent were sewing machine operators. Table 1 shows the distribution of apparel worker employment by detailed occupation. Production jobs are concentrated in California, New York, North Carolina, Penn­ sylvania, Tennessee, and Georgia. Most of these jobs are in the ap­ parel and textile industries, except for pressers and custom tailors. Although pressing operations are an integral part of the apparel pro­ duction process, more than one-half of all pressers are employed in the laundry and drycleaning industry. In addition, more than onehalf of all custom tailors work in retail clothing establishments; many others are self-employed. For both of these occupations, jobs are found in every part of the country. Table 1. Distribution of apparel workers by detailed occupation, 1992 Total (percent)............................................................................................  100  Garment sewing machine operators...................................................... Nongarment sewing machine operators................................................  56 13  Custom tailors and sewers...........................................................................  11  Pressing machine operators.................................................................... Hand cutters and trimmers.................................................................... Hand sewers............................................................................................. Patternmakers and layout workers........................................................ Hand pressers......................................................................................... Portable machine cutters.........................................................................  8 5 2 2 2 1  SOURCE: Bureau of Labor Statistics  Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement  Training requirements vary by industry. In the apparel industry, for example, few employers require a high school diploma or previous work experience. Nevertheless, entrants with secondary or post­ secondary vocational training or previous work experience in ap­ parel production usually have a better chance of getting a job and advancing to a supervisory position. Retailers prefer to hire custom tailors and sewers with previous experience in apparel manufacture, design, or alterations. Knowl­ edge of fabrics, design, and construction is very important. Al­ though laundries and drycleaners prefer entrants with previous work experience, employers routinely hire inexperienced workers. Apparel workers need good hand-eye coordination and the ability to perform repetitious tasks for long periods. Knowledge of fabrics and their characteristics is sometimes required. Regardless of setting, workers usually begin by performing simple tasks. As they gain experience, they are assigned more difficult oper­ ations. Further advancement is limited, however. Some production  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  workers may become first-line supervisors, but the majority remain on the production line. Occasionally, a patternmaker may advance to designer, but usually only after additional training at a design school. Some experienced custom tailors open their own tailoring shop. Custom tailoring is a very competitive field, however, and training in small business operation can mean the difference be­ tween success and failure. Machinery operators are usually trained on the job by more ex­ perienced employees or by machinery manufacturers’ representa­ tives. However, as machinery in the industry continues to become more complex, apparel workers will need more training, especially in computers and electronics. For example, some workers use com­ puters to determine the best layout and then electronically send the layout to an automated cutting machine. In addition, the trend to­ ward cross-training of operators will increase the time needed to learn different machines as well as increase an operator’s skills. Job Outlook  The job outlook of apparel workers depends largely on conditions in the apparel industry, where most apparel workers are employed. In­ creased imports, use of offshore assembly, and greater productivity through the introduction of laborsaving machinery should reduce demand for these workers, so employment of apparel workers is ex­ pected to decline through the year 2005. Because of the large size of this occupation, however, many thousands ofjob openings will arise each year from the need to replace persons who transfer to other oc­ cupations, retire, or leave the occupation for other reasons. Employment in the domestic apparel industry has declined in re­ cent years as foreign producers have gained a greater share of the U.S. market. To avoid losing more of the market, domestic manu­ facturers are developing the ability to respond more quickly to changes in market demand and to take advantage of their closeness to U.S. markets. One strategy that domestic manufacturers have adopted to re­ duce costs is the use of offshore assembly. A provision in U.S. tariff regulations allows manufacturers to cut the pieces of fabric in the United States and ship them to other countries for assembly. This enables the most labor-intensive step in the production process— sewing—to be done at much lower wage rates. This trend is ex­ pected to continue, and will curtail job opportunities for sewing ma­ chine operators in the United States. However, because the pre-sew­ ing functions are done domestically, they will not be adversely affected. Despite advances in technology, extensive use of automated equipment is difficult due to the soft properties of textile products. In addition, it is time consuming and expensive to adapt existing technology to the wide variety of items produced and the frequent style and seasonal changes. However, some of the larger firms and those that produce standardized items have automated pre-sewing functions and very simple sewing procedures and have automated material handling. Technological developments such as computeraided marking and grading, computer-controlled cutters, semiauto­ matic sewing and pressing machines, and automated material han­ dling systems have increased output while reducing the need for workers. Opportunities should be best for those interested in a job as a cus­ tom tailor or pressing machine operator. Many of these workers are employed by retail establishments and by laundries and drycleaners. These employers are unaffected by imports and are unable to move operations abroad. Employers in some locations are having diffi­ culty attracting enough of these workers; as a result, those with the appropriate skills and background should find ample opportunities. Earnings  Earnings of apparel workers vary by industry and by occupation. Average weekly earnings of production workers in the apparel in­ dustry were $258 in 1992, compared to $469 for production workers in all manufacturing industries. However, earnings vary signifi­ cantly depending on the product being manufactured. Average weekly earnings ranged from a low of $213 in firms producing 3  women’s blouses and shirts to a high of $432 in establishments mak­ ing automotive and apparel trimmings. Sewing machine operators—accounting for 7 of every 10 apparel workers—had median weekly earnings of $217 in 1992. Because many production workers in apparel manufacturing are paid according to the number of acceptable pieces they or their group produce, their total earnings depend on skill, speed, and accu­ racy. Benefits also vary. Those offered by large employers usually in­ clude paid holidays and vacations, health and life insurance cover­ age, and increasingly, child care. Those employed in retail trade also may receive a discount of 10 to 30 percent on their purchases. In ad­ dition, some of the larger manufacturers operate company stores, where employees can purchase apparel products at significant dis­ counts. Some small firms, however, may offer only limited benefits. In addition to employer-sponsored benefits, the two principal un­ ions, the Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Workers Union and the International Ladies Garment Workers Union, provide benefits to their members. Related Occupations  The work of apparel workers varies from that requiring very little skill and training to that which is highly complex, requiring several years of training. Those operating machinery and equipment, such as pressing or sewing machine operators, perform duties similar to metalworking and plastics-working machine operators, textile oper­ atives, and shoe sewing machine operators. Other workers who per­ form handwork are precision woodworkers, precision assemblers, and shoe and leather workers. Workers who require an in-depth knowledge of the materials with which they work include upholster­ ers, tool and die makers, and precision welders.  books, on the other hand, requires a number of steps. These are summarized below. Bookbinders assemble books from large, flat, printed sheets of pa­ per. Many skilled bookbinders also bind magazines. Machines are used extensively throughout the process. Skilled bookbinders oper­ ate machines that first fold printed sheets into units known as “sig­ natures,” which are groups of pages arranged sequentially. Book­ binders then sew, stitch, or glue the assembled signatures together, shape the book bodies with presses and trimming machines, and re­ inforce them with glued fabric strips. Covers are created separately, and glued, pasted, or stitched onto the book bodies. The books then undergo a variety of finishing operations, often including wrapping in paper jackets. A small number of bookbinders work in hand binderies. These highly skilled workers design original or special bindings for limited editions or restore and rebind rare books. The work requires creativ­ ity, knowledge of binding materials, and a thorough background in the history of binding. Hand bookbinding gives individuals the op­ portunity to work at the greatest variety ofjobs. Bindery workers in small shops may perform many binding tasks, while those in large shops are usually assigned only one or a few op­ erations, such as operating complicated papercutters or folding ma­ chines. Others specialize in adjusting and preparing equipment, and may when necessary perform minor repairs. Working Conditions  Binderies are often noisy and jobs can be fairly strenuous, requiring considerable lifting, standing, and carrying. They may also require stooping, kneeling, and crouching. Binding often resembles an as­ sembly line, and workers should not mind performing repetitive tasks.  Sources of Additional Information  Information regarding careers in apparel may be obtained from nu­ merous colleges and universities that have specialized textile and ap­ parel programs. A list of these can be found in college guides. In ad­ dition, the local office of the State employment service or an apparel manufacturer can provide information on job opportunities in a spe­ cific area. For general information on the apparel industry, write to: ts" American Apparel Manufacturers Association, 2500 Wilson Blvd., Suite 301, Arlington, VA 22201.  Bindery Workers (D.O.T. 640.682-018, .685-010; 641.682-014; 653.360, .382, .662, .682, .685­ 692.685-146; 794.687-026; and 977)  Employment  In 1992, bindery workers held about 76,000 jobs, including over 7,700 working as skilled bookbinders and nearly 68,000 working as lesser skilled bindery machine operators. Although some bindery workers are employed by large libraries and book publishers, the majority ofjobs are in commercial printing plants. Few publishers maintain their own manufacturing facilities, so most contract out the printing and assembly of books to commer­ cial printing plants or bindery trade shops. Bindery trade shops, the second largest employer of bindery workers, specialize in binding for printers without binderies, or whose printing production exceeds their binding capabilities. Bindery workers are employed in all parts of the country, but jobs are concentrated near large metropolitan areas such as New York, Chicago, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, Philadelphia, and Dallas.  nfl  Nature of the Work  The process of combining printed sheets into finished products such as books, magazines, catalogs, folders, or directories is known as “binding.” Binding involves cutting, folding, gathering, gluing, stitching, trimming, sewing, wrapping, and other finishing opera­ tions. Bindery workers operate and maintain the machines perform­ ing these various tasks. Job duties depend on the kind of material being bound. In firms that do edition binding, for example, workers bind books produced in large numbers or “runs.” Job binding workers bind books pro­ duced in smaller quantities. In firms that specialize in library bind­ ing, workers repair books and provide other specialized binding ser­ vices to libraries. Pamphlet binding workers produce leaflets and folders, and manifold binding workers bind business forms such as ledgers and books of sales receipts. Blankbook binding workers bind blank pages to produce notebooks, checkbooks, address books, dia­ ries, calendars, and note pads. Some binding consists of only one step. Preparing leaflets or newspaper inserts, for example, requires only folding. Binding of 4  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  * MCS-J1  -SfiBSSi  Bookbinders assemble books from large, flat, printed sheets ofpaper.  Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement  Earnings  For bindery jobs, employers prefer high school graduates with basic mathematics and language skills. Accuracy, patience, neatness, and good eyesight are also important. Bindery work requires careful at­ tention to detail, because mistakes at this stage in the printing pro­ cess can cost a lot. Finger dexterity is essential to count, insert, paste, and fold, and mechanical aptitude is needed to operate the newer, more automated equipment. Artistic ability and imagination are necessary for hand bookbinding. Most bindery workers learn the craft through on-the-job training. Inexperienced workers are usually assigned simple tasks such as moving paper from cutting machines to folding machines. They learn basic binding skills, including the characteristics of paper and how to cut large sheets of paper into different sizes with the least amount of waste. As workers gain experience, they advance to more difficult tasks and may learn how to operate one or more pieces of equipment. Generally, it takes 1 to 3 months to learn how to operate the simpler machines well, but it can take up to 1 year to learn how to operate the more complex equipment, such as computerized binding machines. Employers prefer to hire and train workers with some basic knowledge of binding operations. High school students interested in bindery careers can gain some exposure to the craft by taking shop courses or attending a vocational-technical high school. Occupa­ tional skill centers, usually operated by labor unions, also provide an introduction. Formal apprenticeships are not as common as they used to be, but are still offered by some employers. They provide a more structured program that enables workers to acquire the high levels of speciali­ zation and skill needed for some bindery jobs. For example, a 4-year apprenticeship usually is necessary to teach workers how to restore rare books and to produce valuable collectors’ items. Training in graphic arts is also an asset. Postsecondary programs in the graphic arts are offered by vocational-technical institutes, skill updating or retraining programs, and community and junior colleges. Some updating and retraining programs require students to have bindery experience; other programs are available through unions for members. Four-year colleges also offer programs, but their emphasis on preparing people for careers as graphic artists or managers in the graphic arts field. To keep pace with ever-changing technology, occasional retraining will become increasingly impor­ tant for bindery workers. Advancement opportunities in bindery work are limited. In large binderies, experienced bookbinders may advance to supervisory po­ sitions.  Highly skilled bookbinders in 1992 had median weekly earnings of about $350. The middle 50 percent earned between about $240 and $480 a week. The lowest paid 10 percent earned less than $200 a week, while the highest paid 10 percent earned $650 a week or more. Lesser skilled bindery workers in 1992 also had median weekly earnings of about $350. The middle 50 percent earned about $270 to $470 a week. The lowest paid 10 percent earned less than $220 a week, while the highest paid 10 percent earned $570 a week or more. Workers covered by union contracts had higher earnings.  Job Outlook  Employment of bindery workers is expected to grow about as fast as the average for all occupations through the year 2005 as demand for printed material grows but productivity in bindery operations in­ creases. Growth of the printing industry will continue to spur demand for bindery workers by commercial printers. The volume of printed ma­ terial should grow due to increased marketing of products through catalogs, newspaper inserts, and direct mail advertising. Book pub­ lishing is expected to continue to grow in response to rising school enrollments, and the expanding middle-aged and older population—age groups that do the most leisure reading. Even though major technological changes are not anticipated, binding is becoming increasingly mechanized. New “in-line” equip­ ment performs a number of operations in sequence, beginning with raw stock and ending with a complete finished product. Growth in requirements for bindery workers who assist skilled bookbinders will be slowed as binding machinery continues to become more effi­ cient. Most job openings for bindery workers will result from the need to replace experienced workers who change jobs or leave the la­ bor force. Opportunities for hand bookbinders are limited by the small number of establishments that do this highly specialized work. Ex­ perienced bindery workers will have the best opportunities.  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Related Occupations  Other workers who set up and operate production machinery in­ clude papermaking machine operators, press operators, and preci­ sion machine operators. Sources of Additional Information  Information about apprenticeships and other training opportunities may be obtained from local printing industry associations, local bookbinding shops, local offices of the Graphic Communications International Union, or local offices of the State employment ser­ vice. For general information on bindery occupations, write to: 13= Education Council of the Graphic Arts Industry, 1899 Preston White Dr., Reston, VA 22091-4326. tw Graphic Communications International Union, 1900 L St. NW., Wash­ ington, DC 20036.  Blue-Collar Worker Supervisors (List of D.O.T. codes available on request from the Chief, Division of Occupational Outlook, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Washington, DC 20212.)  Nature of the Work  For the millions of workers who assemble manufactured goods, ser­ vice electronics equipment, build office buildings, load trucks, or perform thousands of other activities, a blue-collar worker supervi­ sor is the boss. These supervisors ensure that workers, equipment, and materials are used properly and efficiently to maximize produc­ tivity. They are often responsible for very expensive and complex equipment or systems. Supervisors make sure machinery is set up correctly and schedule or perform repairs and maintenance work. Supervisors create work schedules, keep production and employee records, monitor employees and ensure that work is done correctly and on time. They organize the workers’ activities and make any necessary adjustments to ensure that work continues uninterrupted. Supervisors also train new workers and ensure the existence of a safe working environment. Blue-collar worker supervisors may have other titles, such as first-line supervisors, foremen, or forewomen. In the textile indus­ try, they may be referred to as second hands; on ships they may be called boatswains. In the construction industry, they can be referred to as superintendents, crew chiefs or foremen/forewomen depend­ ing upon the type and size of their employer. Toolpushers or gang pushers are the common terms used to describe blue- collar supervi­ sors in the oil drilling business. Regardless of industry setting or job title, a supervisor’s primary responsibility is to ensure that the work gets done. The way supervi­ sors accomplish this task is changing in some organizations. In com­ panies that have restructured their operations for maximum effi­ ciency, supervisors use computers to schedule work flow, monitor the quality of their workers’ output, keep track of materials used, update their inventory control system, and perform other supervi­ sory tasks. New management philosophies emphasize fewer levels of management and greater employee power and decision making. In the past, supervisors used their power and authority to direct the ef­ forts of their subordinates; increasingly, supervisors are assuming the role of a facilitator for groups of workers, aiding in group deci­ sion making and conflict resolution. 5  Blue-collar worker supervisors have many interpersonal tasks re­ lated to their job as well. They inform workers about company plans and policies; recommend good performers for wage increases, awards, or promotions; and deal with poor performers by outlining expectations, counseling workers in proper methods, issuing warn­ ings, or recommending disciplinary action. They also meet on a reg­ ular basis with their managers, reporting any problems and discuss­ ing possible solutions. Supervisors also meet among themselves to discuss goals, company operations, and performance. In companies with labor unions, supervisors must follow all provisions of labormanagement contracts. Working Conditions  Many blue-collar worker supervisors work in a shop environment. They may be on their feet much of the time overseeing the work of subordinates and may be subjected to the noise and grime of ma­ chinery. Other supervisors, such as those in construction and oil ex­ ploration and production, may work outdoors and are subject to all kinds of weather conditions. Supervisors may be on the job before other workers arrive and stay after they leave. Some supervisors work in plants that operate around the clock and may work any one of three shifts as well as on weekends and holidays. In some cases, supervisors work all three shifts on a rotating basis; in others, shift assignments are made on the basis of seniority. Employment  Blue-collar worker supervisors held about 1,757,000 jobs in 1992. Although salaried supervisors are found in almost all industries, 4 of every 10 worked in manufacturing—supervising the production of industrial machinery, motor vehicles, appliances, and thousands of other products. One of every 8 worked in the construction industry and 1 of every 9 worked in wholesale and retail trade establish­ ments. Others were employed in public utilities, repair shops, trans­ portation, and government agencies. Employment is distributed in much the same way as the population, and jobs are located in all cit­ ies and towns. Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement  When choosing supervisors, employers generally look for experi­ ence, job knowledge, organizational skills, and leadership qualities.  Employers emphasize the ability to motivate employees, maintain high morale and command respect. In addition, employers desire well rounded applicants who are able to deal with different situa­ tions and different types of people. Communication and interper­ sonal skills are extremely important to most employers. Although completion of high school is often the minimum educa­ tional requirement for supervisors, and many supervisors still rise through the ranks, employers are increasingly hiring college gradu­ ates with technical degrees. While work experience creates the ad­ vantage of knowing how jobs should be done and what problems may arise, individuals without advanced education need further technical and administrative training. Large companies generally offer better opportunities than smaller companies for promotion to blue-collar worker supervisory positions. In high-technology industries, such as aerospace and electronics, employers require a bachelors degree or technical school back­ ground. Employers in the manufacturing sector generally prefer a background in engineering, mathematics, science, business adminis­ tration, or industrial relations. In most manufacturing companies, a business or engineering master’s degree or in-house training is needed to advance to jobs such as department head or production manager. Supervisors in the construction industry may use the experience and skills they gain to become contractors, although a degree in construction management or engineering is required for advancement to project manager, op­ erations manager, or general superintendent. Supervisors in repair shops may open their own business. Job Outlook  Employment of blue-collar worker supervisors is expected to grow more slowly than the average for all occupations through the year 2005. However, many openings will arise from the need to replace workers who transfer to other occupations or leave the labor force. Job prospects vary by industry. In manufacturing, employment of supervisors is expected to decline slightly as the trend continues for supervisors to supervise more workers. This reflects the increasing use of computers to meet supervisory responsibilities such as sched­ uling, as well as the effects of worker empowerment programs that relieve supervisors of some of the more time-consuming tasks. In construction and most other nonmanufacturing industries, employ­ ment of blue-collar worker supervisors is expected to rise along with the employment of the workers they supervise. Because of their skill and seniority, blue-collar worker supervi­ sors often are protected from layoffs during a recession. However, some in the highly cyclical construction industry may be laid off when construction activity declines. Earnings  d w<mnm  Median weekly earnings for blue-collar worker supervisors were about $590 in 1992. The middle 50 percent earned between $434 and $790. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $323, and the highest 10 percent earned over $1,010. Most supervisors earn significantly more than their subordinates. While most blue-collar workers are paid by the hour, most supervisors receive an annual salary. Some supervisors receive extra pay when they work overtime. Related Occupations  miiSSmk  .:  Other workers with supervisory duties include those who supervise professional, technical, sales, clerical, and service workers. Some of these are retail store or department managers, sales managers, cleri­ cal supervisors, bank officers, head tellers, hotel managers, postmas­ ters, head cooks, head nurses, and surveyors. Sources of Additional Information  For information on educational programs for blue-collar worker su­ pervisors, contact:  Supervisors teach employees safe work practices and enforce safety regulations. 6  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  ©-American Management Association, 135 West 50th St., New York, NY 10020. 13* National Management Association, 2210 Arbor Blvd., Dayton, OH 45439. ©“American Institute of Constructors, 9887 North Gandy St., St. Peters­ burg, FL 33702.  Butchers and Meat, Poultry, and Fish Cutters (D.O.T. 316.681-010, .684 except -014; 525.361, .381, .664, .684 except -026, -034, and -040, and .687-074.)  Nature of the Work  Butchers and meat, poultry, and fish cutters reduce animal car­ casses into small pieces of meat suitable for sale to consumers. In meatpacking plants, butchers slaughter cattle, hogs, goats, and sheep and cut the carcasses into large wholesale cuts such as rounds, loins, ribs, and chucks to facilitate handling, distribution, and mar­ keting. Meat trimmings are used to prepare sausages, luncheon meats, and Other fabricated meat products. Butchers usually work on assembly lines, with each individual responsible for only a few of the many cuts needed to process a carcass. Depending on the type of cut, they may use knives, cleavers, meat saws, bandsaws, and other equipment. In grocery stores, wholesale establishments that supply meat to restaurants, and institutional food service facilities, meatcutters sep­ arate the wholesale cuts of meat into retail cuts or individual size servings. They cut the meat into steaks and chops using knives and electric saws, shape and tie roasts, and grind beef for sale as hamburger meat. Boneless cuts are prepared using knives, slicers, or power cutters, while bandsaws are required on bone-in pieces. Meatcutters in retail food stores also may weigh, wrap, and label the cuts and arrange them in refrigerated cases for display to customers. They also may prepare special cuts of meat ordered by customers. Poultry cutters slaughter and cut up chickens, turkeys, and other types of poultry. However, these tasks are increasingly being per­ formed by machines, and some modern poultry processing plants use hand cutters only for tasks, such as deboning breast meat, that are difficult for machines to perform with precision. Fish cleaners cut, scale, and dress fish in fish processing plants and wholesale and retail fish markets. They remove the head, scales, and other inedible portions and cut the fish into steaks or boneless fillets. In markets, they may wait on customers and clean fish to or­ der. Retail meat, poultry, and fish cutters also prepare ready-to-heat foods. This often entails filleting meat or fish or cutting it into bite­ sized pieces, preparing and adding vegetables, or applying sauces or breading. Working Conditions  Working conditions vary by the type and size of establishment. In meatpacking plants and larger retail food establishments, butchers and meatcutters work in large meatcutting rooms equipped with power machines and conveyors. In small retail markets, the meatcutter or fish cleaner may work in a space behind the meat counter. To avoid viral and bacterial infections, work areas must be clean and sanitary. Butchers and meat, poultry, and fish cutters often work in cold, damp rooms. Cutting rooms are refrigerated to prevent meat from spoiling; they are damp because meat cutting generates large amounts of blood and fat. The low temperature, combined with the need to stand for long periods of time, makes the work tiring. Butch­ ers and meat, poultry, and fish cutters are more susceptible to injury than most other workers; in 1992, meatpacking plants had the high­ est incidence of work-related injury and illness of any industry. Inju­ ries often occur when insufficient care is used when working with knives, cleavers, and power tools. The repetitive nature of their work often leads to cumulative trauma injuries, such as carpal tun­ nel syndrome. To reduce the incidence of cumulative trauma disor­ ders, many employers have reduced work loads, redesigned jobs and tools, and increased awareness of early warning signs. Nevertheless, workers in this occupation still face a serious threat of a permanent, crippling injury.  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  WmmMM  £*.2a? Fish cutters in fish markets may wait on customers and clean fish to order. Employment  Butchers and meat, poultry, and fish cutters held about 349,000jobs in 1992. Over four-fifths worked in meatpacking and poultry and fish processing plants and retail grocery stores, while others were employed by meat and fish markets, restaurants, hotels, and whole­ sale establishments. The majority of the 222,000 skilled butchers and meatcutters worked in retail grocery stores, while almost 9 out of 10 of the semiskilled meat, poultry, and fish cutters worked in meatpacking and poultry and fish processing plants. Skilled butch­ ers and meatcutters are employed in almost every city and town in the Nation, while semiskilled meat, poultry, and fish cutter jobs are concentrated in communities with food processing plants. Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement  Most butchers and meat, poultry, and fish cutters acquire their skills informally on the job or through apprenticeship programs. A few learn their basic skills by attending trade and vocational schools. However, graduates of these schools may need additional on-the-job training and experience to work as butchers and meatcut­ ters. Generally, on-the-job trainees begin by doing less difficult jobs, such as removing bones. Under the guidance of experienced work­ ers, they learn the proper use of tools and equipment and how to prepare various cuts of meat. After demonstrating skill with tools, they learn to divide quarters into wholesale cuts and wholesale cuts into retail and individual portions. Trainees may learn to roll and tie roasts, prepare sausage, and cure meat. Those in retail food estab­ lishments may learn marketing operations such as inventory con­ trol, meat buying, and recordkeeping. Meatcutters who learn the trade through apprenticeship pro­ grams generally complete 2 years of supervised on-the-job training supplemented by classroom work. At the end of the training period, apprentices must pass a meatcutting test. In some areas, apprentices may become meatcutters without completing the entire training program if they can pass the test. Skills important in meat, poultry, and fish cutting are manual dexterity, good depth perception, color discrimination, and good eye-hand coordination. Also, strength is sometimes needed to lift and move heavy pieces of meat. Meatcutters and fish cleaners who wait on customers must have a pleasant personality, a neat appear­ ance, and the ability to communicate clearly. A health certificate may be required for employment. 7  Butchers and meat, poultry, and fish cutters may progress to su­ pervisory jobs, such as meat or seafood department managers in su­ permarkets. A few become meat or seafood buyers for wholesalers and supermarket chains. Some become grocery store managers or open their own meat or fish markets. In processing plants, butchers and meat, poultry, and fish cutters can move up to supervisory posi­ tions. Job Outlook  Overall employment of butchers and meat, poultry, and fish cutters is expected to grow more slowly than the average for all occupations through the year 2005 as more meat cutting and processing shifts from the retail store to the plant. Nevertheless, many job opportuni­ ties should arise due to the need to replace experienced workers who transfer to other occupations or leave the labor force. As the Nation’s population grows, the demand for meat should continue to increase. Although red meat consumption has been dropping and poultry consumption has been rising in recent years, both of these trends are likely to slow as people consume more lowfat meat products. The consumption of fish is expected to increase robustly in the coming years. Employment growth of semiskilled meat, poultry, and fish cutters who work primarily in meatpacking, poultry, and fish processing plants is expected to increase faster than the average for all occupa­ tions through the year 2005. Although much of the production of poultry and fabricated poultry products is performed by machines, the growing popularity of labor-intensive ready-to-heat goods promises to spur demand for poultry workers. Semiskilled meat and fish cutters also will be in demand as the task of preparing ready-toheat meat and fish goods slowly shifts from the retail store to the processing plant, and as fish is increasingly caught or farmed do­ mestically. Although the supply of edible ocean fish is limited, ad­ vances in fish farming, or “aquaculture,” are expected to reduce the gap between supply and demand. Employment of skilled butchers and meatcutters, who work pri­ marily in retail stores, is expected to decline gradually. Although meat is increasingly cut and processed at meatpacking plants, this shift is coming slowly. At present, most red meat arrives at the gro­ cery store partially cut up. The retail meatcutter performs the final processing—cutting wholesale meat cuts into steaks, chops, and roasts and packaging them for sale. Eventually, as ready-to-heat goods become more popular, both fresh meat and prepared foods will be completely processed and packaged at the plant. Consumers and the retail stores are slowly adjusting to this trend, and the demand for retail meat, poultry, and fish cutters should decline. Earnings  Butchers and meatcutters had median weekly earnings of $310.00 in 1992. The middle 50 percent earned between $230.00 and $490.00 a week. The highest paid 10 percent earned over $630.00 a week. Meatcutters employed by retail grocery stores are generally among the highest paid workers. Butchers and meat and fish cutters generally received paid vaca­ tion and sick leave, health insurance, and life insurance. Poultry workers, however, rarely receive substantial benefits. Union meatcutters employed by grocery stores also had pension plans. Many butchers and meat, poultry, and fish cutters are members of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union. Related Occupations  Butchers and meat, poultry, and fish cutters must be skilled at both hand and machine work and must have some knowledge of processes and techniques involved in handling and preparing food. Other occupations in food preparation which require similar skills and knowledge include bakers, chefs and cooks, and food prepara­ tion workers. Sources of Additional Information  Information about work opportunities can be obtained from local employers or local offices of the State employment service. For in­ formation on training and other aspects of the trade, contact: 8  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  O’ United Food and Comni^. c-''! Workers International Union, 1775 K St. NW., Washington, DC 20006.  Electric Power Generating Plant Operators and Power Distributors and Dispatchers (D.O.T. 820.662-010; 952.167-014, .362, .367-014, and .382)  Nature of the Work  Although electricity is vital for most of our everyday activities, it only takes a downed powerline for us to realize how much we take it and the people who help generate it for granted. Power plant opera­ tors control the machinery that generates electricity. Power distrib­ utors and dispatchers oversee the flow of electricity through substa­ tions and over a network of transmission and distribution lines to users. Electric power generating plant operators who work in plants fu­ eled by coal, oil, or natural gas regulate and monitor boilers, tur­ bines, generators, auxiliary equipment, such as coal crushers, and switching gear. They operate switches to distribute power demands among generators, combine the current from several generators, and regulate the flow of electricity into powerlines. When power re­ quirements change, they start or stop generators and connect or dis­ connect them from circuits. Operators monitor instruments to see that electricity is flowing from the plant properly and that voltage is maintained. They also keep records of switching operations and loads on generators, lines, and transformers and prepare reports of unusual incidents or malfunctioning equipment during their shift. Operators who work in newer plants with automated control sys­ tems work mainly in a central control room and usually are called control room operators and control room operator trainees or assist­ ants. In older plants, the controls for the equipment are not central­ ized, and operators work throughout the plant, operating and moni­ toring valves, switches, and gauges. Job titles in older plants may be more varied than in newer plants. Auxiliary equipment operators work throughout the plant, while switchboard operators control the flow of electricity from a central point. Operators of nuclear power plants are licensed by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). NRC-licensed reactor operators are authorized to operate most of the equipment that affects the power of the reactor in a nuclear power plant. In addition, an NRClicensed senior reactor operator acts as the supervisor of the plant for each shift, and can operate all controls in the control room. Power distributors and dispatchers, also called load dispatchers or systems operators, control the flow of electricity through trans­ mission lines to users. They operate current converters, voltage transformers, and circuit breakers. Dispatchers monitor equipment and record readings at a pilot board, which is a map of the transmis­ sion grid system showing the status of transmission circuits and con­ nections with substations and large industrial users. Dispatchers an­ ticipate power needs such as those caused by changes in the weather; they call control room operators to start or stop boilers and genera­ tors to bring production into balance with needs. They handle emer­ gencies such as transformer or transmission line failures and route current around affected areas. They also operate and monitor equip­ ment in substations, which step up or step down voltage, and oper­ ate switchboard levers to control the flow of electricity in and out of substations. Working Conditions  Because electricity is provided around the clock, operators, distribu­ tors, and dispatchers often work nights and weekends, usually on rotating shifts. Shifts are usually 8 hours long, with three shifts per day. Workers usually rotate to a different daily shift schedule peri­ odically so that duty on less desirable shifts is shared by all opera­ tors. Work on rotating shifts can be stressful and fatiguing because of the constant change in living and sleeping patterns. Operators,  gglSi!  ua RPi  With modern computer equipment, power plant operators can assess the status of all the plant’s major power systems. distributors, and dispatchers who work in control rooms generally sit or stand at a control station. This work is not physically strenu­ ous, but requires constant attention. Operators who work outside the control room may be exposed to danger from electric shock, falls, and burns. Nuclear power plant operators are subject to random drug and al­ cohol tests.  In addition to preliminary training as a power plant operator or power distributor or dispatcher, most workers are given periodic re­ fresher training. Nuclear power plant operators are given frequent refresher training on a plant simulator. Job Outlook  Opportunities for those interested in working as power plant opera­ tors, distributors, and dispatchers will be affected by the pace of new plant construction and equipment upgrading. The pace of expansion in power generating capacity through the year 2005 is expected to be moderate because capacity was somewhat overbuilt in the past. The increasing use of automatic controls and more efficient equipment should further offset the need for new plant construction. Although few new nuclear power plants are likely to be operational before the year 2005, the number of nuclear power plant operators needed at existing nuclear power plants may increase somewhat due to NRC regulations. Overall, employment of electric power generating plant operators, distributors, and dispatchers is expected to grow more slowly than the average for all occupations through the year 2005. Most job openings will occur as workers transfer to other occupa­ tions or leave the labor force. People who want to become power plant operators and power dis­ tributors and dispatchers are expected to encounter keen competi­ tion for jobs. With relatively modest qualifications for employment, good wages, and low turnover in this moderately sized occupation, job opportunities are expected to be few compared to the number of eligible candidates. People hired by electric power companies generally have rela­ tively secure jobs. Even during downturns in the economy, these companies seldom lay off employees. Earnings  Employment  Electric power generating plant operators and power distributors and dispatchers held about 43,000 jobs in 1992. Over 90 percent worked for electric utility companies and government agencies that produced electricity. Some worked for manufacturing establish­ ments that produce electricity for their own use. Jobs are located throughout the country. Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement  Employers generally seek high school graduates for entry level oper­ ator, distributor, and dispatcher positions. Those with strong math and science skills are preferred. College level courses or prior experi­ ence in a mechanical or technical job may be helpful. Many employ­ ers start new workers in helper or laborer jobs in power plants or in other areas of the utility such as powerline construction. Workers may be assigned to train for any one of many utility positions in op­ erations, maintenance, or other areas. Assignments depend on the results of aptitude tests, worker preferences, and availability of openings. Workers selected for training as a power distributor or power plant operator at a conventionally fueled power plant undergo ex­ tensive on-the-job and classroom training provided by the employer. Several years of training and experience are required to become a fully qualified control room operator or power distributor. With further training and experience, workers may advance to shift su­ pervisor. Most advancement opportunities are within a plant or util­ ity; opportunities to advance by moving to another employer are limited. Entrants to nuclear power plant operator trainee jobs must have strong math and science skills. Experience in other power plants or with Navy nuclear propulsion plants also is helpful. Extensive train­ ing and experience are necessary to pass the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s examinations for licensed reactor operator and senior reactor operator, including on-the-job training, classroom instruc­ tion, and individual study. Licensed reactor operators must pass an annual requalifying examination administered by their employer to retain their license. With further training and experience, reactor operators may advance to senior reactor operators, who are quali­ fied to be shift supervisors.  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Earnings in the electric utility industry are relatively high. According to the limited information available, median weekly earnings for conven­ tional power plant operators were about $750 in 1992. According to in­ formation from union contracts, wages for senior power plant operators ranged from $565 to $910 weekly, and wages for power plant operators ranged from $510 to $802 weekly. Nuclear power plant operators earned wages of about $960 in 1992. Senior reactor operators earn 10-15 percent more than licensed reactor operators. Related Occupations  Other workers who monitor and operate plant and systems equip­ ment include stationary engineers, water and sewage treatment plant operators, waterworks pumpstation operators, chemical oper­ ators, and refinery operators. Sources of Additional Information  For information about employment opportunities, contact local electric utility companies, locals of unions mentioned below, or an office of the State employment service. For general information about power plant and nuclear reactor operators and power distributors and dispatchers, contact: ^International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, 1125 15th St. NW., Washington, DC 20005. W Utility Workers Union of America, 815 16th St. NW., Washington, DC 20006.  Handlers, Equipment Cleaners, Helpers, and Laborers (List of D.O.T. codes available on request from the Chief, Division of Occupational Outlook, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Washington, DC 20212.)  Nature of the Work  Employers in almost all industries hire individuals at the entry level. These workers assist more skilled production, construction, operat­ ing, and maintenance workers, or perform tasks that do not require 9  significant training. They perform a broad array of jobs, ranging from moving boxes and feeding machines to cleaning equipment and work areas. Many do tasks needed to make the work of more skilled employees flow smoothly. These workers often do routine, physical work under close supervision. They generally follow oral or written instructions from supervisors or more experienced workers, with little opportunity to make decisions. Helpers and laborers must be familiar with the duties of workers they help, as well as with the materials, tools, and machinery they use, in order to perform their jobs effectively. Freight, stock, and material hand movers move materials to and from storage and production areas, loading docks, delivery vehicles, ships’ holds, and containers, either manually or with forklifts, dol­ lies, handtrucks, or carts. Their specific duties vary by industry and work setting. In factories, they may move raw materials, compo­ nents, and finished goods between work areas and to and from stor­ age areas and loading docks. They receive and sort materials and supplies and prepare them according to work orders for delivery to work or storage areas. In grocery stores, they stock shelves, bag gro­ ceries, carry packages to customers’ cars, and return shopping carts to designated areas. Helpers assist construction trades workers, mechanics and repair­ ers, and workers in production and extractive occupations. (Infor­ mation on these occupations is given elsewhere in the Handbook.) They aid machine operators and tenders by moving materials, sup­ plies, and tools to and from work areas. Some may tend machines during operation if an operator is not available. Helpers may sort finished products, keep records of machine processes, report mal­ functions to operators, and clean machinery after use. Mechanics’ helpers assist workers who repair motor vehicles, industrial machin­ ery, and electrical, electronic, and other equipment. They may fur­ nish tools, materials, and supplies; hold materials or tools; take apart defective equipment; remove rivets; prepare replacement parts; or clean work areas. Construction craft laborers provide much of the routine physical labor at highway, building, and demolition sites. They supply tools, materials, and equipment to carpenters, electricians, plasterers, ma­ sons, painters, plumbers, roofers, and other construction trades workers. They dig trenches, set braces to support the sides of exca­ vations, and clean up rubble and debris. They operate jackhammers, earth tampers, cement mixers, buggies, front-end loaders, “walk-behind” ditchdiggers, small mechanical hoists, and laser beam equip­ ment to align and grade ditches and tunnels. In addition to working on building and transportation projects, construction craft laborers work on other projects, such as hazardous waste cleanup and asbes­ tos and lead abatement. Some laborers have job titles that indicate the work they do. Tenders for bricklayers and plasterers, for exam­ ple, mix and supply materials, set up and move scaffolding, and pro­ vide other services. Hand packers and packagers manually package or wrap materi­ als. They may inspect items for defects, label cartons and stamp in­ formation on products, keep records of items packed, and stack packages on loading docks. Machine feeders and offbearers feed materials into or remove materials from machines or equipment that is automatic or tended by other workers. Service station attendants fill fuel tanks; wash windshields; change oil; repair tires; and replace belts, lights, windshield wipers, and other accessories on automobiles, buses, trucks, and other vehi­ cles. Attendants collect payment for services and supplies. Refuse collectors gather trash and garbage cans manually, or they may operate a hydraulic lift truck that picks up and empties dump­ sters. They drive along a regularly scheduled route, and transport refuse to a dump or landfill. Vehicle washers and equipment cleaners clean machinery, vehi­ cles, storage tanks, pipelines, and similar equipment using water and other cleaning agents, vacuums, hoses, brushes, cloths, and other cleaning equipment. Parking lot attendants assist customers in parking their cars in lots or storage areas and collect fees from customers. 10  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Construction craft laborers operate a variety ofpower tools. Working Conditions  Most handlers, equipment cleaners, helpers, and laborers do repeti­ tive, physically demanding work. They may lift and carry heavy ob­ jects, and stoop, kneel, crouch, or crawl in awkward positions. Some work at great heights, or outdoors in all weather conditions. Some jobs expose workers to harmful chemicals, fumes, odors, loud noise, or dangerous machinery, so these employees may need to wear safety clothing, such as gloves, hats, eye, mouth, and hearing protec­ tion, and must constantly observe safety procedures. In many industries, handlers, equipment cleaners, helpers, and la­ borers may have to work evening or “graveyard” shifts. Their shifts are often 8 hours, but sometimes 12. Handlers may stock shelves at night in grocery stores; service station and parking lot attendants may also work at night. Garbage collectors often work early morn­ ing shifts, starting at 5:00 or 6:00 A.M. Employment  Handlers, equipment cleaners, helpers, and laborers held about 4.5 million jobs in 1992. The following tabulation shows the makeup of this occupational group. Freight, stock, and material movers, hand.................................. 845,000 Hand packers and packagers........................................................ 685,000 Construction trades helpers......................................................... 452,000 Machine feeders and oflbearers................................................... 255,000 Vehicle washers and equipment cleaners.................................... 219,000 Service station attendants............................................................ 190,000 Refuse collectors.......................................................................... 121,000 Parking lot attendants........................................................................ 63,000 All other helpers, laborers, and material movers, hand ............ 1,621,000  They are employed throughout the country in virtually all indus­ tries, with the greatest numbers in manufacturing, construction, and wholesale and retail trade. Almost 1 out of 4 handlers, equipment cleaners, helpers, and laborers works part time. Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement  For most of these jobs, employers will hire people without work ex­ perience or specific training. Some require a high school diploma, others do not. Some jobs require union membership and have long waiting lists. For those jobs requiring physical exertion, employers look for physically fit workers and may require that applicants pass a physical exam. Some employers require mandatory drug testing prior to employment. For all jobs, employers look for people who are reliable and hard working. For those jobs that involve dealing with the public, such as grocery store helpers and garage and park­ ing lot attendants, workers should be pleasant and tactful. Some jobs require literacy and basic mathematics skills to read billing and other records and collect payment for services from customers. Handlers, equipment cleaners, helpers, and laborers are often  younger than workers in other occupations—reflecting the limited training but significant physical requirements of these jobs. Generally, handlers, equipment cleaners, helpers, and laborers learn skills informally from more experienced workers or supervi­ sors. Workers who use dangerous equipment or toxic chemicals often receive training in safety awareness and procedures. In many of these jobs, workers may become trainees or qualify directly for jobs as construction trades workers; machine operators, assemblers, or other production workers; transportation, material moving equipment, or vehicle operators; or mechanics or repairers. Some become supervisors of handlers, equipment cleaners, helpers, and laborers. In fact, many employers prefer not to hire workers for mechanic, construction trade, production, or similar occupations. Rather, they hire handlers, equipment cleaners, helpers, and labor­ ers, and promote qualified workers as openings arise.  Related Occupations  Other entry level workers who perform mostly physical work are roustabouts in the oil industry, certain timber cutting and logging occupations, and groundskeepers. The jobs of handlers, equipment cleaners, helpers, and laborers are often similar to those of the more experienced workers they assist, including machine operators, con­ struction craft workers, assemblers, mechanics, and repairers. Sources of Additional Information  For information about jobs as handlers, equipment cleaners, help­ ers, and laborers, contact local building or construction contractors, manufacturers, and wholesale and retail establishments, or the local office of the State employment service. For general information about the work of construction craft la­ borers, contact: IS" Laborers’  Job Outlook  Job openings should be numerous for handlers, equipment cleaners, helpers, and laborers because the occupation is very large and turno­ ver is relatively high—characteristic of occupations that require lit­ tle formal training. Although employment is expected to grow about as fast as the average for all occupations through the year 2005, em­ ployment change for individual occupations will vary. Among ser­ vice station attendants, for example, a decline in employment has been projected; vehicle washers and equipment cleaners can expect average employment growth; and parking lot attendants are pro­ jected to experience faster than average growth. Demand for handlers, equipment cleaners, helpers, and laborers will depend on growth of the industries that employ these workers, as well as growth of the skilled workers whom they assist. For exam­ ple, the average employment growth projected for construction craft laborers reflects the average growth expected for the construc­ tion industry and for construction trades workers. Employment growth among handlers, equipment cleaners, helpers, and laborers may be spurred by the Nation’s emphasis on hazardous waste cleanup and other environmental projects, and on rebuilding infra­ structure—roads, bridges, tunnels, and communications facilities, for instance. Employment growth also is affected by automation. Some of these jobs are repetitive and, therefore, easily replaced by new ma­ chines and equipment that can improve productivity and quality control. Automated material handling equipment, such as conveyor belts and computer-controlled lift mechanisms and machines that automatically load, unload, and package materials, will be increas­ ingly used, eliminating some helper, handler, and hand packer and packager jobs. As more skilled jobs become automated or partially automated, such as those of assemblers, demand for these employees will decline, as will demand for workers who assist them. Some workers, however, such as construction craft laborers, are not easily replaced by automation because of the varied nature of their jobs. In addition to automation, many employers have adopted cost cutting measures such as job combinations, in which one employee performs the work previously done by two different types of work­ ers. This may cause displacement of handlers, equipment cleaners, helpers, and laborers because their jobs may be assumed by more highly skilled workers who perform the skilled labor as well as the helper’s work. In other cases, a helper may assist more than one type of worker, thereby reducing the number of helpers needed. Earnings  Median weekly earnings for handlers, equipment cleaners, helpers, and laborers in 1992 were about $300. The middle 50 percent earned from $220 to $420 weekly. The top 10 percent earned over $550 weekly, and the bottom 10 percent earned less than $180 weekly. Construction craft laborers have higher weekly earnings than other workers in this group. However, they may be more likely to lose work time because of bad weather and the cyclical nature of con­ struction work. Stock handlers and baggers have the lowest weekly earnings among workers in this group. Nearly 1 out of 4 handlers, equipment cleaners, helpers, and la­ borers belongs to a union.  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  International Union of North America, 905 16th St. NW., Washington, DC 20006.  Inspectors, Testers, and Graders (List of D.O.T. codes available on request from the Chief, Division of Occupational Outlook, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Washington, DC 20212.)  Nature of the Work  Inspectors, testers, and graders ensure that products meet quality standards. Virtually all manufactured products, including foods, textiles, clothing, glassware, automotive components and completed vehicles, electronic components, computers, and structural steel, are inspected. Inspectors visually check and may also listen to or feel products, or even taste or smell them. They verify dimensions, color, weight, texture, strength, or other physical characteristics of objects and look for imperfections such as cuts, scratches, bubbles, missing pieces, misweaves, or crooked seams. Many inspectors use microm­ eters, electronic equipment, calipers, alignment gauges, and other instruments to check and compare the dimensions of parts against the parts’ specifications. Those testing electrical devices may use voltmeters, ammeters, and oscilloscopes to test the insulation, cur­ rent flow, and resistance. Machinery testers generally check that parts fit and move correctly and are properly lubricated, check the pressure of gases and the level of liquids, test the flow of electricity, and do a test run to check for proper operation. Some jobs involve only a quick visual inspection; others require a much longer detailed one. Senior inspectors may also set up tests and test equipment. Some inspectors examine materials received from a supplier before sending them on to the production line. Others inspect com­ ponents, subassemblies, and assemblies or perform a final check on the finished product. Inspectors mark, tag, or note problems. They may reject defective items outright, send them for rework, or, in the case of minor problems, fix them themselves. If the product checks out, they may screw on a nameplate, tag it, stamp a serial number, or certify it in some other way. Inspectors also may calibrate precision instruments used in inspection work. Inspectors, testers, and graders record the results of their inspec­ tions, compute the percentage of defects and other statistical param­ eters, prepare inspection and test reports, notify supervisors of problems, and may help analyze and correct problems in the pro­ duction process. Increasingly in manufacturing, inspection is occurring through­ out the production process, rather than just at the end on the final product. Inspectors still test products to ensure that they will meet with specifications, but they may direct the production line to adjust the machinery before the manufacturing line produces unusable parts. Also, many firms have automated their inspection systems, using machinery installed at one or several points in the production process. The inspectors in these firms have generally been trained to operate this equipment. 11  Working Conditions  Working conditions vary from industry to industry. Some inspec­ tors examine similar products for an entire shift; others examine a variety of items. Most remain at one work station, but some travel from place to place to do inspections. Some are on their feet all day; others sit. In some industries, inspectors are exposed to the noise and grime of machinery; in others, they work in a clean, quiet envi­ ronment. Some may have to lift heavy objects. Some inspectors work evenings, nights, or weekends. In these cases, shift assignments generally are made on the basis of seniority. Overtime may be required to meet production goals. Employment  Inspectors, testers, and graders held about 625,000jobs in 1992. Al­ most 8 of every 10 worked in manufacturing industries, including industrial machinery and equipment, motor vehicles and equip­ ment, primary and fabricated metals industries, electronic compo­ nents and accessories, textiles, apparel, and aircraft and parts. Some worked in communications and utilities, wholesale trade, engineer­ ing and management services, and government agencies. Although they are employed throughout the country, most jobs are in large metropolitan areas where many large factories are located. Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement  A high school diploma is helpful and may be required for some jobs. Simple jobs are generally filled by beginners with a few days’ train­ ing. More complex ones are filled by experienced assemblers, ma­ chine operators, or mechanics who already have a thorough knowl­ edge of the products and production processes. In-house training for new inspectors may cover the use of special meters, gauges, computers, or other instruments; quality control techniques; blueprint reading; and reporting requirements. There are some postsecondary training programs in testing, but most em­ ployers prefer to train inspectors themselves. Inspectors, testers, and graders need mechanical aptitude, good hand-eye coordination, and good vision. Advancement for these workers frequently takes the form of higher pay. However, they also may advance to inspector of more complex products, supervisor, or quality control technician. Job Outlook  Individuals wishing to become inspectors, testers, or graders may face competition. Although the occupation is large, giving rise to a large number of openings due to normal turnover, jobs often are only available to those having experience with the production pro­ cess. Also, like many other occupations concentrated in manufac­ turing, employment is projected to decline through the year 2005.  A precision inspector uses a machine that measures a part’s exact dimensions. 12  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Even though the volume of manufactured goods will grow, em­ ployment will not grow for several reasons. For one thing, manufac­ turers are taking steps to improve production methods—relying on computers and statistical analysis to control the production process. This should result in fewer defects and reduced requirements for in­ spectors. In some cases, machines will alert workers when items ap­ proach limits so that problems can be corrected before defects oc­ cur. In addition, more firms are holding assemblers, machine operators, and other production workers responsible for quality, and having them correct problems as they occur. Also, better in­ specting machinery will improve inspectors’ speed and accuracy, so fewer of them will be needed, and, in some special cases, completely automated equipment will eliminate the need for inspectors. In many industries, however, automation is not being aggres­ sively pursued as an alternative to manual inspection. When key in­ spection elements are size oriented, such as length, width, or thick­ ness, automation may play some role in the future. But when taste, smell, texture, appearance, or product performance are important, inspection will probably continue to be done by humans. Earnings  Inspectors, testers, and graders had median weekly earnings of about $381 in 1992. The middle 50 percent earned from about $282 to $534 a week. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $209 a week; the highest 10 percent earned more than $691. Related Occupations  Other workers who inspect products or services are construction and building inspectors and inspectors and compliance officers, ex­ cept construction, which includes consumer safety, environmental health, agricultural commodity, immigration, customs, postal, mo­ tor vehicle, safety, and other inspectors. Sources of Additional Information  For general information about this occupation, contact: ©“The National Tooling and Machining Association, 9300 Livingston Rd., Fort Washington, MD 20744. ©“The American Society for Quality Control, Membership Department, 310 West Wisconsin Ave., Milwaukee, WI 53203.  Painting and Coating Machine Operators (List of D.O.T. codes available on request from the Chief, Division of Occupational Outlook, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Washington, DC 20212.)  Nature of the Work  Paints and coatings are an important part of most products. In man­ ufacturing, everything from cars to candy is covered by either paint, plastic, varnish, chocolate, or some special coating solution. Often the paints and coatings are merely intended to enhance the prod­ ucts’ appeal to consumers, as with the chocolate coating on candy. More often, however, the protection provided by the paint or coat­ ing is essential to the product, as with the coating of insulating mate­ rial covering wires and other electrical and electronic components. Many paints and coatings have dual purposes, such as the paint fin­ ish on an automobile, which heightens the visual appearance of the vehicle while providing protection from corrosion. Painting and coating machine operators control the machinery and equipment that applies the many types of paints and coatings to a wide range of manufactured products. Workers use several basic methods to apply paints and coatings to manufactured articles. For example, dippers immerse racks or bas­ kets of articles in vats of paint, liquid plastic, or other solutions us­ ing a power hoist. Tumbling barrel painters deposit articles of po­ rous materials in a barrel of paint, varnish, or other coating, which is then rotated to insure thorough coverage. The most common method of applying paints and coatings is by spraying the article with a solution. Spray-machine operators use spray guns to coat metal, wood, ceramic, fabric, paper, and even  food products with paint and other coating solutions. Following a formula, operators fill the equipment’s tanks with a mixture of paints or chemicals, adding prescribed amounts or proportions. They screw nozzles onto the spray guns and adjust them to obtain the proper dispersion of the spray, and hold or position the guns to direct the spray onto the article. The pressure of the spray is regu­ lated by adjusting valves. Operators check the flow and viscosity of the paint or solution, and visually inspect the quality of the coating. They may also regulate the temperature and air circulation in dry­ ing ovens. In response to concerns about air pollution and worker safety, manufacturers are increasingly using new types of paints and coat­ ings on their products instead of high-solvent paints. Water-based paints and powder coatings are two of the most common. These compounds do not emit as many volatile organic compounds into the air and can be applied to a wide variety of products. Powder coatings are sprayed much like liquid paints and heated to melt and cure the coating. The switch to new types of paints is often accompanied by a switch to newer, more automated painting equipment that the oper­ ator sets and monitors instead of wielding a spray gun. Operators position the automatic spray guns, set the nozzles, and synchronize the action of the guns with the speed of the conveyor carrying arti­ cles through the machine and drying ovens. The operator may also add solvents or water to the paint vessel that prepares the paint for application. During operation, the operator attends the painting machine, observes gauges on the control panel and randomly checks articles for evidence of any variation of the coating from specifica­ tions. The operator then “touches up” spots where necessary using a spray gun. Painting and coating machine operators use various types of spray machines to coat a wide range of products. Often their job title reflects the specialized nature of the machine or coating they apply. For example, paper coating machine operators spray “size” on rolls of paper to give it its gloss or finish. Silvering applicators spray sil­ ver, tin, and copper solutions on glass in the manufacture of mirrors. Enrobing machine operators coat, or “enrobe,” confectionery, bakery, and other food products with melted chocolate, cheese, oils, sugar, or other substances. Although the majority of painting and coating machine operators are employed in manufacturing, the largest, best known group of them work in automotive body repair and paint shops refinishing old and damaged cars, trucks, and buses. Automotive painters are among the most highly skilled manual spray operators because, when painting only the repaired portions of a vehicle, they often have to mix paint to match the original color, which can be very dif­ ficult, particularly if the color has faded. To prepare a vehicle for painting, automotive painters or their helpers use power Sanders and sandpaper to remove the original paint or rust, and then fill small dents and scratches with body filler. They also remove or mask parts they do not want painted, such as chrome trim, headlights, windows, and mirrors. Automotive painters use a spray gun to apply several coats of paint. They apply lacquer or enamel primers to vehicles with metal bodies and flexible primers to newer vehicles with plastic body parts. Aiming the spray gun by hand, they apply successive coats of paint until the finish of the repaired sections of the vehicle matches that of the original undamaged portions. To speed drying between coats, they may place the freshly painted vehicle under heat lamps or in a special infrared oven. After each coat of primer dries, they sand the surface to remove any irregularities and to improve the ad­ hesion of the next coat. Final sanding of the primers may be done by hand with a fine grade of sandpaper. A sealer is then applied and al­ lowed to dry, followed by the final topcoat. When lacquer is used, painters or their helpers usually polish the finished surface after the final coat has dried; enamel dries to a high gloss and usually is not polished. Working Conditions  Painting and coating machine operators work indoors and may be exposed to dangerous fumes from paint and coating solutions. How­ ever, many operators wear masks or respirators that cover their nose and mouth, and painting is usually done in special ventilated  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  ' ■ 40k-  Respirators protect painters from toxic fumes. booths that protect the operators from these hazards. Provisions of the Clean Air Act of 1990 regulate establishments’ emissions of vol­ atile organic compounds, including those from paints and other chemicals, thus decreasing the amount of hazardous fumes to which these workers are exposed. Operators have to stand for long periods of time and, when using a spray gun, they may have to bend, stoop, or crouch in uncomforta­ ble positions to reach all parts of the article. Most operators work a normal 40-hour week, but self-employed automotive painters sometimes work more than 50 hours a week, depending on the number of vehicles customers bring in to be re­ painted. Employment  Painting and coating machine operators held about 151,000 jobs in 1992. Almost 9 of every 10 worked in manufacturing establish­ ments—in the production of fabricated metal products, motor vehi­ cles and related equipment, industrial machines, household and of­ fice furniture, and plastics, wood, and paper products, for example. Others included automotive painters employed by independent au­ tomotive repair shops and body repair and paint shops operated by retail automotive dealers. One of every 13 painting and coating ma­ chine operators was self-employed; most of these were automotive painters. Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement  Most painting and coating machine operators acquire their skills on the job, usually by watching and helping experienced operators. For most operators, training lasts from a few days to several months. However, becoming skilled in all aspects of automotive painting usually requires 1 to 2 years of on-the-job training. Most automotive painters start as helpers and gain their skills in­ formally by working with experienced painters. Beginning helpers usually remove trim, clean and sand surfaces to be painted, mask surfaces that they do not want painted, and polish finished work. As helpers gain experience, they progress to more complicated tasks, such as mixing paint to achieve a good match and using spray guns to apply primer coats or final coats to small areas. Painters should have keen eyesight and a good color sense. Com­ pletion of high school is generally not required but is advantageous. Additional instruction is offered at many community colleges and vocational or technical schools. Such programs enhance one’s em­ ployment prospects and can speed promotion to the next level. Some employers sponsor training to make their workers more productive by saving time on repainting and learning other efficient methods. This training is available from manufacturers of chemi­ cals, paints, or equipment or from other private sources. It may in­ clude safety and quality tips and knowledge of products, equipment, and general business practices. 13  Voluntary certification by ASE (the National Institute for Auto­ motive Service Excellence) is recognized as the standard of achieve­ ment for automotive painters. For certification, painters must pass a written examination and have at least 2 years of experience in the field. High school, trade or vocational school, or community or jun­ ior college training in automotive painting and refinishing may sub­ stitute for up to 1 year of experience. To retain certification, painters must retake the examination at least every 5 years. Experienced painting and coating machine operators with leader­ ship ability may advance to supervisory jobs. Those who acquire practical experience or college or other formal training may become sales or technical representatives to large customers or for chemical or paint companies. Some automotive painters open their own shops. Job Outlook  Little change in employment of painting and coating machine oper­ ators is expected through the year 2005 as technological improve­ ments enable these operators to work more productively. Neverthe­ less, several thousand jobs will become available each year as employers replace experienced operators who transfer to other oc­ cupations or leave the labor force. Turnover is moderately high, re­ flecting the hazardous working conditions and wages that are below other machine operative jobs. In manufacturing, employment of painting and coating machine operators is expected to decline, reflecting the increasing automa­ tion of paint and coating application. Improvements in the capabili­ ties of industrial robots allow them to move and aim spray guns more like humans. Furthermore, as the cost of these machines con­ tinues to fall, more should come into use, further expanding the va­ riety of manufactured articles that are painted or coated using auto­ matic equipment. The Clean Air Act of 1990, which sets limits on the level of vola­ tile organic compounds that can be released into the air, also is re­ ducing the demand for operators in manufacturing. As firms switch to water-based and powder coatings in order to comply with the law, it is likely that many will upgrade their equipment in order to increase the efficiency of the painting process. In fact, the powder coating process alone is much more efficient for work on assembly lines than liquid sprays because no drying time is required between coats and fewer operators are needed for touch-up painting. Employment of painting and coating machine operators in the auto repair industry will grow more slowly than average. The signif­ icant cost of the new equipment required by the Clean Air Act could force smaller or less profitable repair shops out of business and may force the remaining shops to raise their prices. This could somewhat dampen demand. Moreover, the improved quality of car finishes and the increasing use of nonrusting alloys also may slow the growth in demand for refinishing services. The number ofjob openings for painting and coating machine op­ erators may fluctuate from year to year due to cyclical changes in economic conditions. When demand for manufactured goods slack­ ens, production may be suspended or reduced, and workers may be laid off or face a shortened workweek. However, automotive paint­ ers can expect relatively steady work because automobiles damaged in accidents require repair and refinishing regardless of the state of the economy. Earnings  Painting and coating machine operators who usually worked full time had median weekly earnings of $373 in 1992. The middle 50 percent had usual weekly earnings between $272 and $503, while the highest 10 percent earned more than $637 weekly. Beginning au­ tomotive painter apprentices usually start at about half the hourly rate of fully qualified painters. As they progress, their wages gradu­ ally approach those of experienced automotive painters. Helpers start at lower wage rates than beginning apprentices. Many automotive painters employed by automobile dealers and independent repair shops receive a commission based on the labor cost charged to the customer. Under this method, earnings depend largely on the amount of work a painter does and how fast it is com­ pleted. Employers frequently guarantee commissioned painters a minimum weekly salary. Helpers and apprentices usually receive an 14  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  hourly rate until they become sufficiently skilled to work on a com­ mission basis. Trucking companies, buslines, and other organiza­ tions that repair their own vehicles usually pay by the hour. Many painting and coating machine operators belong to unions, including the International Association of Machinists and Aero­ space Workers; the International Union, United Automobile, Aero­ space and Agricultural Implement Workers of America; the Sheet Metal Workers’ International Association; and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters; and the International Brotherhood of Painters and Allied Trades. Most union operators work for manu­ facturers and the larger automobile dealers. Related Occupations  Other occupations in which workers apply paints and coatings in­ clude construction and maintenance painters, electrolytic metal platers, and hand painting, coating, and decorating occupations. Sources of Additional Information  For more details about work opportunities, contact local manufac­ turers, automotive-body repair shops, and automotive dealers; lo­ cals of the unions previously mentioned; or the local office of the State employment service. The State employment service also may be a source of information about training programs. For general information about a career as an automotive painter, write to: tw Automotive  Service Industry Association, 25 Northwest Point, Elk Grove Village, IL 60007-1035. W Automotive Service Association, Inc., P.O. Box 929, Bedford, TX 76021­ 0929.  Information on how to become a certified automotive painter is available from: ISP ASE,  13505 Dulles Technology Dr., Herndon, VA 22071-3415.  Photographic Process Workers (D.O.T. 962.361; 970.281-010 and -018, .381-010 and -034; 972.384-014­ 976.361, .380-010, .381-010, -014, -018, and -022, .382-010, -014, -018, -022, -030, and -038, .384-010 and -014, .385, .665, .681, .682-010, -014, -018, and -022, .684-014, -030, and -038, .685-014, -018, -022, -026, -030, -034, and -038; 979.384)  Nature of the Work  Most amateur and professional photographers rely on photo processing workers to develop film, make prints and slides, and do related tasks such as enlarging and retouching photographs. Photo­ graphic processing machine operators and tenders operate various machines, such as motion picture film printing machines, photo­ graphic printing machines, film developing machines, and mount­ ing presses. Precision photographic process workers perform more delicate tasks, such as retouching photographic negatives and prints to stress or correct specific features or characteristics of subjects. They may restore damaged and faded photographs, and may color or shade drawings to create photographic likenesses using an air­ brush. They also may color photographs, using oil colors to produce natural, lifelike appearances according to specifications. The following jobs are examples of the work that machine opera­ tors perform. Developers develop exposed photographic film or sen­ sitized paper in a series of chemical and water baths to produce neg­ ative or positive prints. They first mix the developing and fixing solutions, following a formula. They then immerse the exposed film in a developer solution to bring out the latent image, immerse the negative in stop-bath to halt the developer action, immerse it in hyposolution to fix the image, and finally immerse it in water to re­ move chemicals. The worker then dries the prints. In some cases, these steps may be performed by hand. Color printer operators con­ trol equipment which produces color prints from the negatives. They read customer instructions to determine processing require­ ments. They load the rolls into color printing equipment, examine  the negatives to determine equipment control settings, set the con­ trols, and produce a specified number of prints. They inspect the fin­ ished prints for defects, and remove any that are found, finally in­ serting the processed negatives and prints into an envelope for return to the customer. Automatic print developers develop strips of exposed photographic paper; takedown sorters sort processed film; and automatic mounters operate equipment that cuts and mounts slide film into individual transparencies. Precision photographic process workers generally use a conven­ tional negative and, using a computer, may vary the contrast of images, remove unwanted background, or even combine features from several different photographs. Precision photographic process workers in portrait studios, on the other hand, deal in very high vol­ ume, and tend to work directly on the photo negative, rather than on a computer. These workers include airbrush artists, who restore damaged and faded photographs; photographic retouchers, who alter photographic negatives and prints to accentuate the subject; color­ ists, who apply oil colors to portrait photographs to create natural, lifelike appearances; and photographic spotters, who spot out imper­ fections on photographic prints. Working Conditions  In recent years, more commercial photographic processing has been done on computers than in darkrooms, and this trend is expected to continue. Work generally is performed in clean, appropriately lighted, well-ventilated, and air-conditioned offices, photofinishing laboratories, or 1-hour minilabs. At peak times, portrait studios hire individuals who work at home, developing and retouching nega­ tives. Photographic process machine operators must do repetitious work at a rapid pace without any loss of accuracy. Precision process workers do detailed tasks, such as airbrushing and spotting, which may contribute to eye fatigue. Some photographic process workers are exposed to the chemicals and fumes associated with developing and printing. These workers must wear rubber gloves and aprons and take precautions against chemical hazards. Many photo laboratory employees work a 40-hour week, includ­ ing weekends, and may work overtime during peak seasons.  Employment  Photographic process workers held about 63,000 jobs in 1992. Photofinishing laboratories and 1-hour minilabs employed about two-thirds. About 3 out of 10 worked for portrait studios and com­ mercial laboratories that specialize in processing the work of profes­ sional photographers for advertising and other industries. Employment fluctuates over the course of the year; peak periods include school graduation, summer vacation, and Christmas time. Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement  Most photographic process machine operators receive on-the-job training from equipment manufacturers or experienced workers, and gradually learn to operate the machines that develop and print film. Employers prefer applicants who are high school graduates or those who have some experience or knowledge in the field. As prep­ aration for precision work, proficiency in mathematics, art, and computer science, as well as photography courses that include in­ struction in film processing are valuable. Such courses are available through high schools, vocational-technical institutes, private trade schools, adult education programs, and colleges and universities. On-the-job training in photographic processing occupations can last a few hours for print machine operators to years for precision workers like airbrush artists, spotters, and negative retouchers. Some workers attend periodic training seminars to maintain a high level of skill. Manual dexterity, good hand-eye coordination, and good vision, including normal color perception, are important quali­ fications for precision photographic process workers. They must be comfortable with computers and able to adapt to technological ad­ vances. Photographic process machine workers generally advance from jobs as machine operators to supervisory positions in laboratories. Precision photographic process workers generally earn more as their skill level and the complexity of tasks they can perform in­ creases. Job Outlook  Employment of photographic process workers is expected to in­ crease about as fast as the average for all occupations through the year 2005. Most openings will result from replacement needs, which tend to be higher for machine operators than for precision process workers. The volume of film to be processed should ensure continued job growth for machine operators, despite laborsaving advances in pho­ tographic processing equipment, as long as film remains the main­ stay of photographic processing. Digital cameras, which use elec­ tronic memory rather than a film negative to record the image, are now available. However, these cameras are much more expensive than conventional cameras, and generally are not capable of produc­ ing an equally sharp image. As the technology improves and the price declines, photographic process machine operators may be dis­ placed. Technological change is unlikely to affect demand for precision photographic process workers in the same way because the editing and adjustments they make to pictures need to be performed to digi­ tal images as well as to negatives. No matter what improvements oc­ cur in camera technology, there always will be some images that re­ quire precise manipulation. Because photographic processing services are luxuries for most consumers, the number of job openings may decrease during reces­ sions. Earnings  Photographic process workers must be able to adapt to technological advances.  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Earnings of photographic process workers vary greatly depending on skill level, experience, and geographic location. Median earnings for full-time photographic process workers in 1992 were about $330 a week. The middle 50 percent earned between $250 and $460 a week. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $210 a week; the high­ est 10 percent, more than $520. 15  Related Occupations  Precision photographic process workers need a specialized knowl­ edge of the photodeveloping process. Other workers who apply spe­ cialized technical knowledge include chemical laboratory techni­ cians, crime laboratory analysts, food testers, medical laboratory assistants, metallurgical technicians, quality control technicians, en­ gravers, and some of the printing occupations, such as photolitho­ grapher. Photographic process machine operators perform work similar to that of other machine operators, such as computer and peripheral equipment operators and printing press operators. Sources of Additional Information  For information about employment opportunities in photographic laboratories and schools that offer degrees in photographic technol­ ogy, write to: 13* Photo Marketing Association International, 3000 Picture Place, Jackson MI 49201.  eliminated by automation. The need for precision, independent judgment, and knowledge has placed many jobs beyond the capabil­ ities of robots. Because much precision assembly work is done in difficult-to-reach locations unsuited for robots—inside airplane fuse­ lages or inside gear boxes, for example—replacement of these workers by automated processes will be slower and less comprehen­ sive than replacement of welders and painters. Working Conditions  The conditions under which precision assemblers work depend on the manufacturing plant where they are employed. Electronics as­ semblers sit at tables in rooms that are clean, well lighted, and free from dust. Assemblers of aircraft and industrial machinery, how­ ever, usually come in contact with oil and grease, and their working areas may be quite noisy. They may have to lift and fit heavy objects. Work schedules of assemblers may vary at plants with more than one shift. In some plants, workers can accept or reject a certain job on a given shift, usually in order of seniority. Employment  Precision Assemblers (List of D.O.T. codes available on request from the Chief, Division of Occupational Outlook, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Washington, DC 20212.)  Nature of the Work  Workers who put together the parts of manufactured products are called assemblers. In some instances, such as the building of a car, hundreds of assemblers work on a single product; in others, such as the assembly of a toy doll, a single assembler may be responsible for each product. Assembly work varies from simple, repetitive jobs that are relatively easy to learn to those requiring great precision and many months of experience and training. Precision assemblers are the highly experienced and trained workers who assemble com­ plicated products. The work of precision assemblers requires a high degree of accu­ racy. Workers must be able to interpret detailed specifications and instructions and apply independent judgment. Some experienced as­ semblers work with engineers and technicians, assembling proto­ types or test products. Precision assemblers involved in product de­ velopment must know how to read and interpret engineering specifications from text, drawings, and computer-aided drafting sys­ tems, and how to use a variety of tools and precision measuring in­ struments. Precision assemblers may work on subassemblies or the complete final assembly of finished products or components of products such as electronic equipment, machinery, or aircraft. For example, preci­ sion electrical and electronic equipment assemblers put together or modify prototypes or final assemblies of items such as missile con­ trol systems, radio or test equipment, computers, machine-tool nu­ merical controls, radar, sonar, telemetering systems, and appli­ ances. Precision electromechanical equipment assemblers prepare and test equipment or devices such as dynamometers, ejection seat mechanisms, magnetic drums, and tape drives. Precision machine builders construct, assemble, or rebuild engines and turbines, and office, agricultural, construction, oil field, rolling mill, textile, woodworking, paper, printing, and food wrapping machinery. Pre­ cision aircraft assemblers put together and install parts of airplanes, space vehicles, or missiles, such as wings or landing gear. Precision structural metal fitters align and fit structural metal parts according to detailed specifications prior to welding or riveting. The manufacturing process is changing. Flexible manufacturing systems, which include the manufacturing applications of robotics, computers, programmable motion control, and various sensing technologies, are changing the way goods are made and affecting the jobs of those who make them. As manufacturing firms strive for greater precision and productivity, jobs that can be performed more economically or more accurately by automated equipment will be restructured; many of them will be upgraded or disappear. Until re­ cently, however, relatively few precision assembly jobs have been 16  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Virtually all of the 334,000 precision assembler jobs in 1992 were in plants that manufacture durable goods. Almost one-third of all jobs involved assembly of electronic and electrical machinery, equip­ ment, and supplies including electrical switches, welding equip­ ment, electric motors, lighting equipment, household appliances, and radios and television sets. Nearly one-quarter involved assem­ bly of industrial machinery (diesel engines, steam turbine genera­ tors, farm tractors, mining and construction machinery, and office machines). Other industries employing many precision assemblers were transportation equipment (aircraft, autos, trucks, and buses) and instruments. The following tabulation lists the industries that provided most wage and salary jobs for precision assemblers in 1992: Total (percent).....................................................................................  100  Electronic and other electrical equipment................................................ 32 Industrial machinery and equipment........................................................ 24 Transportation equipment...................................................................... 20 Instruments and related products........................................................... 1g Fabricated metal products.......................................................................... 4 Other industries........................................................................................... 2  Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement  Precision assemblers often are promoted from the ranks of workers in less skilled jobs in the same firm. Sometimes, outside applicants may be hired if they possess suitable experience. The ability to do ac­ curate work at a rapid pace is a key job requirement. A high school diploma is helpful but usually is not required.  ,. ■ ;.,v 7*  lr— One out of 3 precision assemblers works in the electronics industry.  For some precision assembly jobs, applicants need specialized training. For example, employers may require that applicants for electrical or electronic assembler jobs be technical school graduates or have equivalent military training. Good eyesight, with or without glasses, is required for assemblers who work with small parts. In plants that make electrical and elec­ tronic products, which may contain many different colored wires, applicants often are tested for color vision. As precision assemblers become more experienced, they may pro­ gress to jobs that require more skill and be given more responsibil­ ity. Experienced assemblers who have learned many assembly oper­ ations and understand the construction of a product may become product repairers. These workers fix assembled articles that opera­ tors or inspectors have identified as defective. Assemblers also may advance to quality control jobs or be promoted to supervisor. In some firms, assemblers can become trainees for one of the skilled trades. Those with a background in math, science, and computers may advance to programmers or operators of more highly auto­ mated production equipment. Job Outlook  Opportunities for those who wish to become precision assemblers depend on the industries in which the jobs are located. For instance, there should be keen competition for assembly jobs in the aerospace and electronics industries. The aerospace industry is anticipating re­ ductions in defense contracts through the 1990’s, uncertain funding for space projects, and weaker commercial aircraft demand than was expected in the late 1980’s. The electronics industry, on the other hand, faces the decade ahead with excellent prospects for growth. As firms invest in more automated production equipment and processes, however, the number of assembly jobs in electronics will fall. , Other industries employing precision assemblers, such as indus­ trial machinery and instruments, may provide more opportunities for employment than the aerospace or electronics industries. But many firms in these industries sell their products all over the world and are subject to growing international competition. The effect of automation on precision assembler employment will depend on how rapidly and extensively new manufacturing technol­ ogies are adopted. Not all precision assemblers can be replaced effi­ ciently by automated processes. Flexible manufacturing systems are expensive, and a large volume of repetitive work is required to jus­ tify their purchase. Also, where the assembly parts involved are ir­ regular in size, new technology is only now beginning to make in­ roads. For example, robot assembly works best where products are designed specifically to be assembled by robots. In addition, manu­ facturers are less willing to invest in product and equipment rede­ sign as long as existing operations are profitable. An alternative to automation for many firms is to send their sub­ assembly or component production functions to countries where la­ bor is cheaper. If this trend continues, assembly work sent abroad may well cost more jobs than robots or other automated manufac­ turing systems. . Employment of precision assemblers is expected to decline through the year 2005, with increasing automation offsetting any in­ crease in employment that would have occurred due to industrial growth. Despite the expected decline in employment, a moderate number ofjob openings will occur as workers transfer to other occu­ pations or leave the labor force. Earnings  Earnings information is somewhat limited for precision assemblers. Full-time workers who assemble electrical and electronic equipment had median weekly earnings of $318 in 1992. Most earned between $248 and $418; the lowest 10 percent earned less than $201 a week and the highest 10 percent, over $546. In many unionized companies manufacturing autos, aircraft, and electronic equipment, wages of precision assemblers ranged from $400 to $600 per week in 1992. Many precision assemblers are members of labor unions. These unions include the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers; the United Electrical, Radio and Machine  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Workers of America; the United Automobile, Aerospace and Agri­ cultural Implement Workers of America; the International Brother­ hood of Electrical Workers; and the United Steelworkers. Related Occupations  Other occupations that involve operating machines and tools and assembling things are welders, ophthalmic laboratory technicians, and machine operators. Sources of Additional Information  Information about employment opportunities for assemblers is available from local offices of the State employment service and from locals of the unions mentioned earlier.  Prepress Workers (List of D.O.T. codes available on request from the Chief, Division of Occupational Outlook, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Washington, DC 20212.)  Nature of the Work  The printing process has three stages—prepress, press, and binding or finishing. Prepress workers prepare material for printing presses. They perform a variety of tasks such as typesetting, designing page layout, photographing text and pictures, and making printing plates. In the past few years as personal computers have come into more widespread use, advances in electronics and computer software have be­ gun to greatly change prepress work. Prepress workers increasingly share typesetting and page layout tasks with their customers. Customers are able to use their computers to send printers material that looks more and more like the desired finished product. This change, called “desktop publishing,” poses new challenges for the printing industry. Instead of receiving simple typed text from customers, prepress workers increas­ ingly get the material on a computer disk, and instead of relying on prepress workers to suggest a format, customers are increasingly likely to have already settled on a format by experimenting on their personal computers. The printing industry is rapidly moving towards complete digital imaging, by which customers’ material received on computer disks is converted directly into printing plates. Other aspects of prepress work experiencing innovation include digital color page makeup sys­ tems, electronic page layout systems, and off-press color proofing sys­ tems. As electronic imaging becomes more prevalent, the use of film in printing will decline. Film, however, is still often the most economi­ cal and efficient data storage and retrieval medium currently in use. Today, electronic imaging is limited to more advanced printing shops, but as costs decline and quality improves, the process will be­ come the method of choice in the industry. Typesetting and page layout have been greatly affected by techno­ logical changes. Today, composition work is done with computers and “cold type” technology. The old “hot type” method of text composition—which used molten lead to create individual letters, paragraphs, and full pages of text—is nearly extinct. Cold type, which is any of a variety of methods that create type without molten lead, most commonly uses “phototypesetting” to ready text and pic­ tures for printing. Although this method has many variations, all use photography to create positive images on paper. The images are assembled into page format and rephotographed to create film nega­ tives from which the actual printing plates are made. However, newer cold type methods are coming into increasing use; these auto­ mate the photography or make printing plates directly from mate­ rial in a computer. In one common form of phototypesetting, text is entered into a computer programmed to hyphenate, space, and create columns of text. Keyboarding of text may be done by typesetters or data entry clerks at the printing establishment or, increasingly, by the author before the job is sent out for composition. The computer stores the text on magnetic tape, floppy disk, or hard disk. The magnetically coded text is then transferred to a typesetting machine which uses 17  photography, a cathode-ray tube, or a laser to create an image on typesetting paper or film. Once it has been developed, the paper or film is sent to a lithographer who makes the actual printing plate. In another type of phototypesetting, a computer produces text on special paper in the desired format. In newspapers, for example, text is printed in long columns. Workers called paste up artists cut and arrange the columns of text and illustrations onto a special illustra­ tion board called a “mechanical.” The special paper adheres easily to the board, yet is designed to allow easy removal and positioning. Once the text is arranged in final form, the board is sent to the cam­ era department where a photographic negative used to create print­ ing plates is produced. In small shops, job printers may be responsi­ ble for setting type according to copy, reading proof for errors and clarity, and correcting mistakes. The most advanced method of typesetting, called “electronic pag­ ination,” is in growing commercial use. Electronic pagination system operators use a keyboard to enter and select the size and style of type, the column width, and appropriate spacing, and to store it in the computer. The computer then displays and arranges columns of type on a screen that resembles a TV screen. An entire newspaper page—complete with artwork and graphics—can be made up on the screen exactly as it will appear in print. Operators transmit the pages for production into film and then into plates, or directly into plates, eliminating the role of paste up artists. Emerging technologies are also affecting the roles of other com­ position workers. Improvements in desktop publishing software will allow customers to do more typesetting directly. Laser printers read text from computer memory and then “beam” it directly onto film, paper, or plates, bypassing the slower photographic process now be­ ing used. In addition, improvements in desktop publishing software will allow even more typesetting to be done by the customer. After the material has been arranged and typeset, it is passed on to workers who further prepare it for the presses. Camera operators are generally classified as line camera operators, halftone operators, or color separation photographers. Line camera operators start the process of making a lithographic plate by photographing and devel­ oping film negatives or positives of the material to be printed. They adjust light and expose film for a specified length of time, and then develop film in a series of chemical baths. They may load unexposed film in machines that automatically develop and fix the image. Normal continuous-tone photographs cannot be reproduced by most printing processes, halftone camera operators separate the photograph into pictures that are made up of tiny dots, which can be reproduced. Color separation photography is more complex. In this process, camera operators produce four-color separation negatives from a continuous-tone color print or transparency which is being reproduced. More of this separation work will be done electronically in the fu­ ture on scanners. Scanner operators use computerized equipment to create film negatives or positives of photographs or art. The com­ puter controls the color separation or the scanning process, cor­ recting for mistakes, or compensating for deficiencies in the original color print or transparency. Operators review all work to determine if corrections to the original are necessary and adjust the equipment accordingly. They then use a densitometer to measure the density of the colored areas, and adjust the scanner to obtain the best results. An original color photograph or transparency is scanned for each color to be printed. Each scan produces a dotted, or halftone image of the original in one of four primary colors—yellow, magenta, cyan, and black. The images are used to produce printing plates that print each of these colors, one at a time. The printing is done with primary process color inks which are transparent, creating “secon­ dary” color combinations of red, green, blue, and black. These sec­ ondary colors can be combined to produce all the colors and hues of the original photograph. The computer controls the color separa­ tion or the scanning process, correcting for mistakes or compensat­ ing for deficiencies in the original color print or transparency. Lithographic dot etchers retouch film negatives or positives by sharpening or reshaping images. They do the work by hand, using chemicals, dyes, and special tools. Dot etchers must know the char­ acteristics of all types of paper and must produce fine shades of color. Like camera operators, they are usually assigned to only one 18  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  phase of the work, and may have job titles such as dot etcher, re­ toucher, or letterer. The skills of dot etchers are rapidly being re­ placed by scanners which can perform color correction during the color separation procedure. Strippers cut the film to required size and arrange and tape the negatives onto “flats,” or layout sheets, used by platemakers to make press plates. When completed, flats resemble large film nega­ tives of the text in its final form. In large printing establishments like newspapers, arrangement is done automatically. Platemakers use a photographic process to make printing plates. The film assembly or flat is placed on top of a thin metal plate treated with a light-sensitive chemical. Exposure to ultraviolet light activates the chemical in those parts not protected by the film’s dark areas. The plate is then developed in a special solution that removes the unexposed nonimage area, exposing bare metal. The chemical on areas of the plate exposed to the light hardens and becomes water repellent. The hardened parts of the plate form the text. A growing number of printing plants use lasers to directly convert electronic data to plates without any use of film. Entering, storing, and retrieving information from computer-aided equipment require technical skills. In addition to operating and maintaining the equip­ ment, lithographic platemakers must make sure that plates meet quality standards. During the printing process, the plate is first covered with a thin coat of water. The water adheres only to the bare metal nonimage areas, and is repelled by the hardened areas that were exposed to light. Next, the plate comes in contact with a rubber roller covered with an oil-based ink. Because oil and water do not mix, the ink is repelled by the water-coated area and sticks to the hardened areas. The ink covering the hardened text is transferred to paper. Technological changes will continue in the prepress area as hand work is automated. Although computers will perform a wider vari­ ety of tasks, printing will still involve text composition, page layout, and plate making, so printing will still require prepress workers. Technical skills, particularly in computers and electronics, will be very beneficial to prepress workers. These workers will, however, need to demonstrate a desire and an ability to benefit from the fre­ quent retraining that rapidly changing technology necessitates. Working Conditions  Prepress workers usually work in clean, air-conditioned areas with little noise. Some workers, such as typesetters and compositors, may get eyestrain from working in front of a video display terminal, as well as musculoskeletal problems, such as backaches. Lithographic artists and strippers may find working with fine detail tiring to the eyes. Platemakers, who work with toxic chemicals, face the hazard of skin irritations. Stress may be an important factor as workers are often subject to the pressures of shorter and shorter deadlines and tighter and tighter work schedules.  Paste-up artists cut and arrange the columns of text and illustrations onto a special illustration board called a “mechanical. ”  Prepress employees generally work an 8-hour day. Some work­ ers—particularly those employed by newspapers—work night shifts, weekends, and holidays. Employment  Prepress workers held about 167,000jobs in 1992. Employment was distributed as follows: Prepress precision workers Strippers, printing................................ Paste-up workers.................................. Electronic pagination systems workers Job printers.......................................... Camera operators................................. Platemakers.......................................... Compositors and typesetters.............. Photoengravers.................................... All other precision printing workers .. Prepress machine operators Typesetting and composing machine operators............................ Photoengraving and lithographic machine operators..................  30.000 22.000  18,000 15.000 14.000 13.000 11.000  7,000 13,000 20,000 5,000  Most jobs were found in firms that handle commercial or business printing and in newspaper plants. Commercial printing firms print newspaper inserts, catalogs, pamphlets, and advertisements, while business form establishments print material such as sales receipts and paper used in computers. Additional jobs are found in printing trade service firms and “in-plant” operations. Establishments in printing trade services typically perform custom typesetting, platemaking, and related prepress services. The printing and publishing industry is one of the most geograph­ ically dispersed in the United States, and prepress jobs are found throughout the country. However, job prospects may be best in large printing centers such as New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Washington DC, and Dallas. Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement  The length of training required for prepress jobs varies by occupa­ tion. Some such as typesetting can be learned in only a few months, but are the most likely to be automated. Others such as stripping re­ quire years of experience to master. Nevertheless, even workers in these occupations should expect to receive intensive retraining. Workers often start as helpers who are selected for on-the-job train­ ing programs once they demonstrate their reliability and interest in learning the job. They begin instruction with an experienced craft worker and advance based upon their demonstrated mastery of skills at each level of instruction. All workers should expect to be re­ trained from time to time to handle new, improved equipment. Apprenticeship is another way to become a skilled prepress worker, although few apprenticeships have been offered in recent years. Apprenticeship programs emphasize a specific craft—such as camera operator, stripper, lithographic etcher, scanner operator, or platemaker—but apprentices are introduced to all phases of print­ ing. Generally, most employers prefer to hire high school graduates who possess good communication skills, both oral and written. Prepress workers need to be able to deal courteously with people be­ cause in small shops they may take customer orders. They may also need to add, subtract, multiply, divide, and compute ratios to esti­ mate job costs. Mathematical skills are also essential for operating many of the software packages used to run modern, computerized prepress equipment. Persons interested in working for firms that use advanced print­ ing technology need to know the basics of electronics and com­ puters. Prepress workers need manual dexterity, and they must be able to pay attention to detail and work independently. Good eyesight, in­ cluding visual acuity, depth perception, field of view, color vision, and the ability to focus quickly, is an asset. Artistic ability is often a plus. Employers seek persons who are even-tempered and adapta­ ble, important qualities for workers who often must meet deadlines and learn how to operate new equipment.  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Formal graphic arts programs, offered by community and junior colleges and some 4-year colleges, also introduce persons to the in­ dustry. These programs provide job-related training, and enrolling in one demonstrates an interest in the graphic arts, which may im­ press an employer favorably. Bachelor’s degree programs in graphic arts are generally intended for students who may eventually move into management positions, and 2-year associate degree programs are designed to train skilled workers. Courses in various aspects of printing are also available at voca­ tional-technical institutes, industry- sponsored update and retrain­ ing programs, and private trade and technical schools. As workers gain experience, they may advance to positions with greater responsibility. Some move into supervisory positions. Job Outlook  Employment of prepress workers is expected to grow more slowly than the average for all occupations through the year 2005. Demand for printed material should grow rapidly spurred by rising levels of personal income, increasing school enrollments, and higher levels of educational attainment. However, increased use of computers in typesetting and page layout should slow the growth of prepress jobs. New technologies are also expected to spur demand for printed materials by expanding markets, allowing advertising dollars cur­ rently allotted to nonprint media, such as television, to be spent on direct mail. Work previously requiring a week or more can now be completed in a few days. Much faster turnaround time will permit printers to compete with nonprint media for time-sensitive business, providing advertisers with specialty advertisements used to target specific market segments, for example. Technological advances will have a varying effect on the rate of employment growth among the prepress occupations. Growth is ex­ pected to be fastest for electronic pagination operators and slowest for precision compositors and typesetters. Employment of elec­ tronic pagination workers is expected to grow faster than average, reflecting the increasing proportion of page layout and design that will be performed electronically. In contrast, employment of precision compositors and typesetters will decline as typesetting work is increasingly performed on com­ puters, dampening the demand for workers who perform this pro­ cess manually. Other occupations that may decline or grow more slowly than average as hand work becomes automated include pas­ teup workers and photoengravers, platemakers, camera operators, job printers, and prepress machine operators. Job prospects also will vary by industry, most notably for com­ positors and typesetters. Changes in technology have shifted many employment opportunities away from the traditional printing plants into advertising agencies, public relations firms, and large corpora­ tions. Many companies are turning to in-house typesetting or “desktop publishing” due to the advent of inexpensive personal computers with graphic capabilities. Corporations are finding it more profitable to print their own newsletters and other reports than to send them out to trade shops. In addition, press shops them­ selves have responded to desktop publishers’ needs by sending their own staff into the field to help customers prepare a disk that will live up to the customer’s expectations. Compositors and typesetters should find competition extremely keen in the newspaper industry, currently their largest employer. Computerized equipment that allows reporters and editors to spec­ ify type and style and to format pages at a desktop computer termi­ nal has already eliminated many typesetting and composition jobs, and more are certain to disappear in the years ahead. Many new jobs for prepress workers are expected to emerge in commercial printing establishments. New equipment should reduce the time needed to complete a printing job, and allow commercial printers to make inroads into new markets that require fast turn­ around. Because small establishments predominate, commercial printing should provide the best opportunities for inexperienced workers looking to gain a good background in all facets of printing. Opportunities for prepress workers should also be good in the printing trade services industry. Despite the fact that companies may have their own typesetting and printing capabilities, they usu­ ally turn to professionals in printing trade services if quality and time are of the essence. 19  Most employers prefer to hire experienced workers. However, among persons without experience, opportunities should be best for those who have completed postsecondary programs in printing technology. Many employers prefer graduates of these programs be­ cause the comprehensive training they receive helps them learn the printing process and adapt more rapidly to new processes and tech­ niques. Earnings  Wage rates for prepress workers vary according to occupation, level of experience and training, location and size of the firm, and whether they are union members. According to limited data availa­ ble, the median earnings of full-time workers were $518 a week in 1992 for lithographers and photoengravers and $402 a week for typesetters and compositors. A relatively small proportion of prepress workers were unionized. According to the Graphic Communications International Union, the principal union for prepress workers, scanner operators earned an hourly wage of $21.86 in 1992, and strippers earned $17.57 per hour. Related Occupations  Prepress workers use artistic skills in their work. These skills are also essential for sign painters, jewelers, decorators, engravers, and graphic artists. Other workers who operate machines equipped with keyboards like typesetters include clerk-typists, computer terminal system operators, keypunch operators, and telegraphic-typewriter operators. Sources of Additional Information  Details about apprenticeship and other training programs may be obtained from local employers such as newspapers and printing shops or from local offices of the State employment service. For general information on prepress occupations, write to: fS“ The  Graphic Arts Technical Foundation, 4615 Forbes Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15213.  Printing Press Operators (List of D.O.T. codes available on request from the Chief, Division of Occupational Outlook, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Washington, DC 20212.)  Nature of the Work  Printing press operators prepare, operate, and maintain the printing presses in a pressroom. Duties of press operators vary according to the type of press they operate—offset, gravure, flexography, screen printing, or letterpress. Offset is the dominant printing process and is expected to remain so into the next century. Gravure and flex­ ography should increase in use, but letterpress should continue be­ ing phased out, and only major breakthroughs in plate technology can prevent it from slipping from the ranks of major printing processes within a few years. In addition to the major printing processes, plateless or nonimpact processes are coming into general use. Plateless processes-including electronic, electrostatic, and ink­ jet printing—are used for copying, duplicating, and document and specialty printing, generally by quick and in-house printing shops. To prepare presses for printing, press operators install and adjust the printing plate, mix fountain solution, adjust pressure, ink the presses, load paper, and adjust the press to the paper size. Press op­ erators check that paper and ink meet specifications, and adjust con­ trol margins and the flow of ink to the inking rollers accordingly. They then feed paper through the press cylinders and adjust feed and tension controls. While printing presses are running, press operators monitor their operation and keep the paper feeders well stocked. They make ad­ justments to correct uneven ink distribution, speed, and tempera­ tures in the drying chamber, if the press has one. If paper jams or tears—which can happen with some offset presses—and the press 20  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  stops, the operators quickly correct the problem to minimize down­ time. Similarly, operators working with other high-speed presses constantly look for problems, making quick corrections to avoid ex­ pensive losses of paper and ink. Throughout the run, operators also occasionally pull sheets to check for any printing imperfections. In many shops, press operators perform preventive maintenance. They oil and clean the presses and make minor repairs to keep presses running smoothly. Operators who work with large presses have assistants and helpers. Press operators’ jobs differ from one shop to another because of differences in the kinds and sizes of presses. Small commercial shops tend to have relatively small presses which print only one or two col­ ors at a time and are operated by one person. Operators who work with large presses have assistants and helpers. Large newspaper, magazine, and book printers use giant “in-line web” presses that re­ quire a crew of several press operators and press assistants. These presses are fed paper in big rolls, called “webs,” up to 50 inches or more in width. Presses print the paper on both sides; trim, assemble, score, and fold the pages; and count the finished sections as they come off the press. Most plants have or soon will have installed printing presses that have computers and sophisticated instruments to control press oper­ ations, making it possible to set up for jobs in much less time. Com­ puters allow press operators to perform the tasks described above electronically. With this equipment, press operators monitor the printing process on a control panel that allows them to adjust the press electronically by pushing buttons. Working Conditions  Operating a press can be physically and mentally demanding, and sometimes tedious. Press operators are on their feet most of the time. Often, operators work under pressure to meet deadlines. Most printing presses are capable of high printing speeds, and adjust­ ments must be made quickly to avoid waste. Pressrooms are noisy, and workers in certain areas wear ear protectors. Working with press machinery can be hazardous, but accidents can be avoided when safe work practices are observed. The danger of accidents is much less with newer computerized presses because operators make most adjustments from a control panel. Many press operators work evening, night, and overtime shifts. Employment  Press operators held about 241,000 jobs in 1992. Employment was distributed as follows: Printing press machine setters and operators................................ Offset lithographic press operators................................................ Screen printing machine setters and setup operators.................... Letterpress operators.......................................................................  Press operators are on theirfeet most of the time.  110,000 79,000 25,000 13,000  Most jobs were in newspaper plants or in firms that handle com­ mercial or business printing. Commercial printing firms print news­ paper inserts, catalogs, pamphlets, and the advertisements found in your mailbox, and business form establishments print items such as sales receipts and paper used in computers. Additional jobs were in the “in-plant” section of organizations and businesses that do their own printing—among them, banks, insurance companies, and gov­ ernment agencies. The printing and publishing industry is one of the most geograph­ ically dispersed in the United States, and press operators can find jobs throughout the country. However, jobs are concentrated in large printing centers such as New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., and Dallas. Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement  Operators need mechanical aptitude to make press adjustments and repairs and an ability to visualize color to work on color presses. Oral and writing skills also are required. Operators should be able to compute percentages, weights, and measures, and should possess adequate mathematical skills to calculate the amount of ink and pa­ per needed to do a job. Technological changes have had a tremendous effect on the skills needed by press operators. New presses require basic computer skills. Printing plants that change from sheet-fed offset presses to web-offset presses have to retrain the entire press crew because the skill requirements for the two types of presses are different. Web-off­ set presses, with their faster operating speeds, require faster deci­ sions, monitoring of more variables, and greater physical effort. Apprenticeship, once the dominant method of preparing for this occupation, is becoming less prevalent with the growing importance of formal programs of retraining and skill updating for experienced operators. In the future, workers are expected to need to retrain sev­ eral times during their career. Apprenticeships for press operators in commercial shops take 4 years. In addition to on-the-job instruc­ tion, apprenticeships include related classroom or correspondence school courses. Postsecondary courses in printing are increasingly important be­ cause of the theoretical knowledge needed to operate advanced equipment. Because of technical developments in the printing indus­ try, courses in chemistry, electronics, color theory, and physics are helpful. Beginning press operators may load, unload, and clean presses. With time, they may move up to operating one-color sheet-fed presses and may eventually advance to multicolor presses. Opera­ tors are likely to gain experience on many kinds of printing presses during the course of their career. Press operators may advance in pay and responsibility by taking a job working on a more complex printing press. For example, a onecolor sheet-fed press operator may, through experience and demon­ strated ability, become a four-color sheet-fed press operator. Others may advance to pressroom supervisor and be responsible for the work of the entire press crew. Job Outlook  Employment of press operators is expected to grow about as fast as the average for all occupations through the year 2005 as demand for printed materials grows. However, employment growth will vary among various press operator jobs. Employment of offset, gravure, and flexographic operators will increase, while employment of let­ terpress operators will decline. Most job openings will result from the need to replace operators who retire or leave the occupation. Most new jobs will result from expansion of the printing industry as demand for printed material increases in response to demo­ graphic trends, U.S. expansion into foreign markets, and growing use of direct mail by advertisers. Changes in the age structure of the population are expected to spur demand for books and magazines as school enrollments rise, even as substantial growth in the middleaged and older population spurs adult education and leisure read­ ing. Additional growth should stem from increasing foreign demand for domestic trade publications, professional and scientific works, and mass-market books such as paperbacks.  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Much of the growth in commercial printing will be spurred by in­ creased expenditures for print advertising materials to be mailed di­ rectly to prospective customers. New market research techniques are leading advertisers to increase spending on messages targeted to specific audiences and should continue to require the printing of a wide variety of newspaper inserts, catalogs, direct mail enclosures, and other kinds of print advertising. Other printing such as newspapers, books, and periodicals will also provide jobs. Experienced press operators will fill most of these jobs because many employers are under severe pressure to meet deadlines and have limited time to train new employees. New laborsaving technology, which is expected to eliminate many prepress workers’ jobs, is expected to have little adverse im­ pact on press operators. New presses with higher press speeds and reduced setup time should not significantly affect operator employ­ ment. Printing press operators are more likely to require apprenticeship training than other printing occupations. They will face keen com­ petition for jobs from experienced workers and workers who have completed retraining programs. Earnings  The basic wage rate for a press operator depends on the type of press being run and the area of the country in which the work is located. Median weekly earnings of press operators who worked full time were about $420 in 1992. The middle 50 percent earned between $300 and $570 a week. The lowest 10 percent earned $215 or less a week, while the highest 10 percent earned over $710 a week. A relatively small proportion of press operators belong to unions. Related Occupations  Other workers who set up and operate production machinery in­ clude papermaking machine operators, shoemaking machine opera­ tors, bindery machine operators, and precision machine operators. Sources of Additional Information  Details about apprenticeships and other training opportunities may be obtained from local employers such as newspapers and printing shops, local offices of the Graphic Communications International Union, local affiliates of Printing Industries of America, or local of­ fices of the State employment service. For general information about press operators, write to: W Graphic  Communications International Union, 1900 L St. NW., Wash­ ington, DC 20036. IS" Graphic Arts Technical Foundation, 4615 Forbes Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15213.  Shoe and Leather Workers and Repairers (D.O.T. 365.361; 780.381-030; 781.381-018; 783.361-010, and .381-018 through -026; 788.261-010 and .381)  Nature of the Work  Creating stylish and durable leather products is the job of precision shoe and leather workers; keeping them in good condition is the work of repairers. Among the workers who do leather work and re­ pair are custom orthopedic shoemakers, saddlemakers, and luggage makers. Although these workers produce different goods, their job duties are actually quite similar. Depending on the size of the factory or shop, a leather worker may perform one or more of the steps required to complete a prod­ uct. In smaller factories or shops, workers generally perform several tasks, while those in larger facilities tend to specialize. However, most leather workers eventually learn the different skills involved in producing leather goods as they move from one task to another. Leather workers must first check the leather for texture, color, and strength. They then place a pattern of the item being produced 21  on the leather, trace the pattern onto the leather, cut along the out­ line, and sew the pieces together. Other steps may vary according to the type of good being produced. Orthopedic shoemakers attach the insoles to shoe lasts (a wooden form shaped like a foot), affix the shoe uppers, and apply heels and outsoles. They shape the heels with a knife and then sand them on a buffing wheel for smoothness. Finally, they dye and polish the shoes. Custom shoe workers also may modify existing footwear for people with foot problems and special needs. This can involve pre­ paring inserts, heel pads, and lifts from casts of customers’ feet. Saddlemakers often apply leather dyes and liquid top coats to produce a gloss finish on a saddle. They may also decorate the sad­ dle surface by hand stitching or by stamping the leather with deco­ rative patterns and designs. Luggage makers fasten leather to a frame and attach handles and other hardware. They also cut and se­ cure linings inside the frames and sew or stamp designs onto the lug­ gage exterior. Shoe and leather repairers use their knowledge of leatherworking to give worn leather goods extended wearability. The most common type of shoe repair is replacing soles and heels. Repairers place the shoe on a last and remove the old sole and heel with a knife or pliers or both. They attach new soles and heels to shoes either by stitching them in place or by using cement or nails. Other leather goods, suit­ cases or handbags, for example, may need seams to be re-sewn or handles and linings to be replaced. Leather workers and repairers use handtools and machines. The most commonly used handtools are knives, hammers, awls (used to poke holes in leather to make sewing possible), and skivers (for split­ ting leather). Power-operated equipment includes sewing machines, heel nailing machines, hole punching machines, and sole stitchers. Self-employed shoe repairers and owners of custom-made shoe and leather shops have managerial responsibilities in addition to their regular duties. They must maintain good relations with their customers, make business decisions, and keep accurate records. Working Conditions  Working conditions of leather workers vary according to the type of work performed, the size of the factory or business, and the prac­ tices of each individual shop. Workers employed in custom leather goods manufacturing estab­ lishments generally work a regular 40-hour week. Those in repair shops work nights and weekends and often work irregular hours.  For those who own their own repair shop, overtime is common. Al­ though there are few health hazards if precautions are followed, work areas can be noisy and odors from leather dyes and stains are often present. Employment  Shoe and leather workers and repairers held about 22,000 jobs in 1992. Self-employed individuals, who typically own and operate small shoe repair shops or specialty leather manufacturing firms, held about 4,000 of these jobs. Of the remaining workers, over half were employed in the manufacture of footwear products, and an ad­ ditional one-fifth were employed in production of leather goods such as luggage, handbags, and apparel. Another fifth worked in shoe repair and shoeshine shops. Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement  Precision shoe and leather workers and repairers generally learn their craft on the job, either through in-house training programs or working as helpers to experienced workers. Helpers generally begin by performing simple tasks and then progress to more difficult projects like cutting or stitching leather. Trainees generally become fully skilled in 6 months to 2 years; the length of training varies ac­ cording to the nature of the work and the aptitude and dedication of the individual. A limited number of schools offer vocational training in shoe re­ pair and leather work. These programs may last from 6 months to 1 year and impart basic skills including leather cutting, stitching, and dyeing. Students learn shoe construction, practice shoe repair, and study the fundamentals of running a small business. Graduates are encouraged to gain additional training by working with an exper­ ienced leather worker or repairer. National and regional associa­ tions also offer specialized training seminars and workshops in cus­ tom shoe making, shoe repair, and other leather work. Manual dexterity and the mechanical aptitude to work with handtools and machines are important in the shoe repair and leatherworking occupations. Shoe and leather workers who produce custom goods should have artistic ability as well. These workers must have self-discipline to work alone under little supervision. In addition, leather workers and repairers who own shops will need to have a knowledge of business practices and management as well as a pleasant manner when dealing with customers. Many individuals who begin as workers or repairers advance to salaried supervisory and managerial positions. Some may open their own shop or business. Job Outlook  Employment of shoe and leather workers is expected to decline through the year 2005. Inexpensive imports have made the cost of replacing shoes and leather goods cheaper or more convenient than repairing them, thus reducing the demand for shoe and leather re­ pairers. Some of the more expensive, high-end products will con­ tinue to be repaired, however, and this demand will moderate the employment decline of these workers. In the future, most job open­ ings in this occupation will arise from the need to replace exper­ ienced workers who transfer to other occupations or leave the work force. Prospects for workers employed in the manufacture and modifi­ cation of custom-made molded or orthopedic shoes are better than those for most other leather workers. This is a result of substantial expected growth in the elderly population and an increasing empha­ sis on preventive foot care. The employment effects of these trends may be limited, however, since the demand for orthopedic footwear is increasingly fulfilled by manufactured shoes that are modified to specification instead of totally custom made. Earnings  Shoe and leather workers need manual dexterity to make repairs. 22  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Data on earnings of shoe and leather workers are very limited. Their earnings vary greatly depending upon the place of employment. Be­ ginning workers often start near the minimum wage and can ad­ vance in just a few months. Owners of shoe repair and custom shoe manufacturing shops can earn substantially more.  Related Occupations  Other workers who make or repair items using handtools and ma­ chinery include dressmakers, designers and patternmakers, and fur­ riers. Sources of Additional Information  For information about the custom-made prescription shoe business, and about training opportunities in this field, contact: O" Prescription Footwear Association, 9861 Broken Land Pky., Suite 255, Columbia, MD 21046-1151.  If.  For information about opportunities in shoe repair, contact: X3" Shoe  Service Institute of America, Educational Library, 5024-R Camp­ bell Blvd., Baltimore, MD 21236-5974.  Stationary Engineers (D.O.T. 950.362-014, .382 except -014 and -022)  Nature of the Work  Large buildings require a considerable amount of equipment to pro­ vide heating, air-conditioning, and ventilation. Industrial plants often have facilities to provide electrical power, steam, or other ser­ vices as well. Stationary engineers operate and maintain this equip­ ment, which can include boilers, air-conditioning and refrigeration equipment, diesel engines, turbines, generators, pumps, condensers, and compressors. These workers are called stationary engineers be­ cause the equipment they operate is similar to equipment operated by locomotive or marine engineers except it is not in a vehicle that moves. Stationary engineers start up, regulate, and shut down equip­ ment. They insure it operates safely and economically and within es­ tablished limits by monitoring attached meters, gauges, and other instruments, and increasingly, computerized controls. They manu­ ally control equipment, and if necessary, make adjustments. They use hand and power tools to perform repairs and maintenance rang­ ing from a complete overhaul to replacing defective valves, gaskets, or bearings. They also record relevant events and facts concerning operation and maintenance in an equipment log. On steam boilers, for example, they observe, control, and record steam pressure, tem­ perature, water level, power output, and fuel consumption. They watch and listen to machinery and routinely check safety devices, identifing and correcting any trouble that develops. Stationary engineers also perform routine maintenance, such as lubricating moving parts, replacing filters, and removing soot and corrosion that can reduce operating efficiency. They also may test boiler water and add chemicals to prevent corrosion and harmful deposits. In a large building or industrial plant, a stationary engineer may be in charge of all mechanical systems in the building or an indus­ trial powerplant or engine room. Engineers may direct the work of assistant stationary engineers, turbine operators, boiler tenders, and air-conditioning and refrigeration operators and mechanics. In a small building or industrial plant, there may be only one stationary engineer at any time. Working Conditions  Stationary engineers generally have steady year-round employment. They usually work a 5-day, 40-hour week. Many work one of three daily 8-hour shifts, and weekend and holiday work often is required. Engine rooms, powerplants, and boiler rooms usually are clean and well lighted. Even under the most favorable conditions, how­ ever, some stationary engineers are exposed to high temperatures, dust, dirt, and high noise levels from the equipment. General main­ tenance duties may cause contact with oil and grease, as well as fumes or smoke. Workers spend much of their time on their feet; they also may have to crawl inside boilers and work in crouching or kneeling positions to inspect, clean, or repair equipment.  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Stationary engineers operate equipment which provide power to buildings. Because stationary engineers work around boilers as well as elec­ trical and mechanical equipment, they must be alert to avoid bums, electric shock, and injury from moving parts. Employment  Stationary engineers held about 31,000jobs in 1992. They worked in a wide variety of places, including factories, hospitals, office and apartment buildings, schools, shopping malls, and hotels. Although stationary engineers work throughout the country, most work in the more heavily populated areas, where large indus­ trial and commercial establishments are usually located. Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement  Most stationary engineers acquire their skills through a formal ap­ prenticeship program or through informal on-the-job training which usually is supplemented by courses at trade or technical schools. In addition, a good background can be obtained in the Navy or the Merchant Marine because marine engineering plants are similar to many stationary power and heating plants. The in­ creasing complexity of the equipment with which they work has made a high school diploma or its equivalent necessary; many sta­ tionary engineers have some college education. Apprenticeship programs are sponsored by the International Union of Operating Engineers, the principal union to which station­ ary engineers belong. In selecting apprentices, most local labormanagement apprenticeship committees prefer applicants who have received instruction in mathematics, computers, mechanical draw­ ing, machine-shop practice, physics, and chemistry. Mechanical ap­ titude, manual dexterity, and good physical condition also are im­ portant. An apprenticeship usually lasts 4 years. In addition to on-the-job training, apprentices receive classroom instruction in practical chemistry, elementary physics, blueprint reading, applied electric­ ity, instrumentation, electronics, and other technical subjects. Those who acquire their skills on the job usually start as helpers to experienced stationary engineers or as boiler tenders. This practi­ cal experience may be supplemented by postsecondary vocational training in computerized controls and instrumentation. However, becoming a stationary engineer without going through a formal ap­ prenticeship program usually requires many years of work experi­ ence. 23  Most large and some small employers encourage and pay for skillimprovement training for their employees. Training is almost al­ ways provided when new equipment is introduced, usually by a rep­ resentative of the machinery manufacturer. Most States and cities have licensing requirements for stationary engineers. Applicants usually must be at least 18 years of age, reside for a specified period in the State or locality, meet experience re­ quirements, and pass a written examination. Because of regional dif­ ferences in licensing requirements, a stationary engineer who moves from one State or city to another may have to pass an examination for a new license. Generally, there are several classes of stationary engineer licenses, each specifying the type of equipment or the steam pressure or horsepower of the equipment the engineer can operate without su­ pervision. A first-class license covers equipment of all types and ca­ pacities. A licensed first-class stationary engineer is qualified to run a large facility and to supervise others. An applicant for this license may be required to have a high school education, apprenticeship or on-the-job training, and several years of experience. Lower class li­ censes limit the types or capacities of equipment the engineer may operate without the supervision of a higher rated engineer. Stationary engineers advance by being placed in charge of larger, more powerful, or more varied equipment. Generally, engineers ad­ vance to these jobs as they obtain higher class licenses. Some station­ ary engineers advance to boiler inspectors, chief plant engineers, building and plant superintendents, or building managers. A few ob­ tain jobs as examining engineers or technical instructors. Job Outlook  Employment of stationary engineers is expected to grow more slowly than the average for all occupations through the year 2005. Although increased commercial and industrial development will in­ crease the amount of equipment to be operated and maintained, au­ tomated and computerized controls will make newly installed equipment more efficient and limit the number of additional station­ ary engineers needed. Nevertheless, the need to replace experienced workers who transfer to other occupations or leave the labor force will result in a significant number ofjob openings. Due to the increasing complexity of power-generating systems, job opportunities will be best for those with apprenticeship training or vocational school courses in computerized controls and instru­ mentation. Earnings  In 1992, the median weekly earnings for stationary engineers who worked full time were about $618. The middle 50 percent earned be­ tween $414 and $775 a week; 10 percent earned less than $302 a week; and 10 percent earned more than $920. Related Occupations  Other workers who monitor and operate stationary machinery in­ clude nuclear reactor operators, power station operators, water and wastewater treatment plant operators, waterworks pump-station operators, chemical operators, and refinery operators. Sources of Additional Information  Information about training or work opportunities is available from local offices of State employment services, locals of the Interna­ tional Union of Operating Engineers, and from State and local li­ censing agencies. Specific questions about the occupation should be addressed to: W International  Union of Operating Engineers, 1125 17th St. NW., Wash­ ington, DC 20036. 13^ National Association of Power Engineers, Inc., 5-7 Springfield St., Chi­ copee, MA 01013. W Building Owners and Managers Institute International, 1521 Ritchie Hwy„ Suite 3A, Arnold, MD 21403.  24  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Textile Machinery Operators (List of D.O.T. codes available on request from the Chief, Division of Occupational Outlook, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Washington, DC 20212.)  Nature of the Work  Textile machinery operators tend machines that manufacture textile goods used in all types of consumer and industrial products. Pants, skirts, and socks are familiar examples of textile products, but many are surprised to find that textile products are used in such things as tires and roads. There are many phases in the textile production pro­ cess, and operators’ duties and responsibilities depend on the prod­ uct and the type of machinery in use. The textile production process begins with the preparation of manufactured or natural fibers for spinning. Machinery operaters control equipment that cleans, cards, combs, and draws the fiber; spins the fiber into yam; and weaves, knits, or tufts the yam into tex­ tile products. They are responsible for numerous machines that they must start, stop, clean, and monitor for proper functioning. Fibers are cleaned and aligned through carding and combing. To prepare the fiber for the spinning process, very short fibers and any foreign matter are removed and the fibers are drawn into a sub­ stance called sliver. During this process, different types of fibers may be combined to give products the desired textures, durability, or other characteristics. This is how “50 percent cotton, 50 percent polyester” blends, for example, are created. Operators constantly monitor their machines during this stage, checking the movement of the fiber, removing and replacing cans of sliver, repairing breaks in the sliver, and making minor repairs to the machinery. The full cans of sliver are then taken to the spinning area. Spin­ ning draws and twists the sliver to produce yarn which is then wound onto conical structures called bobbins. This is an automated version of the old fashion spinning wheel. Some workers oversee machinery that makes manufactured fi­ bers. These fibers, used in many textile products, are created from materials that, unlike cotton, wool, and flax, are not fibrous in their natural form. To make this fiber, wood pulp or chemical com­ pounds are dissolved or melted in a liquid which is then extruded, or forced, through holes in a metal plate, called a spinneret. The sizes and shapes of the holes in the spinneret determine the shape and the uses of the fiber. Workers adjust the flow of fiber base through the spinneret, repair breaks in the fiber, or make minor adjustments to the machinery. Because this fiber is created by a chemical process, the majority of these workers are employed by chemical companies, not textile mills. When the yam is ready, it is taken to be woven, knitted, or tufted. Each of these processes produces a different type of textile product and requires a different type of machine. For example, woven fabrics are made on looms that interlace the yarn. Knit products, such as socks or women’s hosiery, are produced by intermeshing loops of yarn. Carpeting is made through the tufting process, in which the loops of yam are pushed through a material backing. Al­ though the processes are now highly automated, these concepts have been used for many centuries to produce textile products. Even though operators work with many different kinds of ma­ chines, many of their responsibilities are similar. Each operator oversees numerous machines—repairing breaks in the yarn, moni­ toring the supply of yam, and making minor repairs to the machin­ ery. As increasingly sophisticated machinery is used in textile mills, more processes will be controlled by computers, making it possible for each operator to monitor a larger area or number of machines. Because of the complexity of many machines, operators often spe­ cialize in a particular type of machine. In addition, operators pre­ pare the machinery prior to a production ran and help maintain the equipment. For example, they may adjust the timing on a machine, thread the harnesses that create patterns in textile goods, or repair machinery. Once the yarn has been woven, knitted, or tufted, the resulting fabric is ready to be dyed and finished either at the textile mill or at a plant specializing in textile finishing. Because of the variety of con­ sumer preferences, manufacturers must print and dye textiles in  thousands of different designs and colors. Depending upon the end use of the yam, it may be dyed before or after it is woven, knitted, or tufted. Some fabric is treated before it is dyed to remove other chem­ ical additives that could affect the quality of the dyed product. In addition to dyeing and printing, products are often finished by treating them to prevent excessive shrinkage, to provide strength, or to give a silky luster. In the production of hosiery and socks, for ex­ ample, the stocking or sock is placed on a form and then exposed to steam and heat to give it shape. Working Conditions  Most textile machine operators work in a textile mill or a chemical plant. Working conditions depend upon the age of the facility or equipment and its degree of modernization. Newer facilities offer better ventilation and climate control that reduce potential problems caused by airborne fibers and fumes often encountered in older facilities. Workers in areas with high levels of these airborne materials often use protective glasses and masks that cover their nose and mouth. Although some of the newer machinery has reduced the level of noise, workers in some areas still must wear ear protection. Because many machines operate at high speeds, workers must be careful not to wear clothing or jewelry that could get caught in moving parts. In addition, extruding and forming machine operators may wear pro­ tective shoes and clothing when working with some types of chemi­ cal compounds. The average workweek for textile production workers is 40 hours. Because most textile and fiber mills operate 24 hours a day, night and weekend shifts are common. However, many employers use a rotating schedule of shifts so operators don’t consistently work nights or weekends. Operators are on their feet moving between ma­ chines during most of their shift. Although workers have traditionally worked under close supervi­ sion, new management philosophies are placing an increasing em­ phasis on teamwork, which will allow operators greater interper­ sonal contact and more initiative. Employment  Textile machinery operators held about 284,000 jobs in 1992. The majority of these workers were employed in weaving, finishing, yam, and thread mills. Other employers with a substantial number of these workers were knitting mills and manufactured fiber produc­ ers. North Carolina was the leading State in the employment of textile workers, accounting for about 30 percent of the total. Georgia and South Carolina combined accounted for another 30 percent. Most of the remaining workers were employed in other southern States and in the northeast.  Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement  Physical stamina and manual dexterity are important skills for these jobs. Education and training, however, are becoming increasingly important for working with complex machinery and advanced man­ ufacturing methods. A high school diploma in addition to extensive technical training is becoming a prerequisite for entry to many jobs. This training may be obtained, in part, at a formal training institution such as a techni­ cal school. Extensive on-the-job training by more experienced work­ ers or representatives of machinery manufacturers is also common. As the textile industry becomes more highly automated, opera­ tors will need to understand the complex machinery and be able to diagnose problems. Because textile machinery is increasingly con­ trolled electronically, many operators will need good computer skills. Self-direction and interpersonal skills will become increasingly important for textile machinery operators. Business attitudes pro­ moting teamwork and fewer levels of management offer operators greater responsibility and the opportunity to take more initiative in running the production facility. Textile machinery operatives can advance in several ways. Some workers become instructors and train new employees. Others ad­ vance by taking positions requiring higher skills and greater respon­ sibility. First-line supervisory positions usually are filled from the ranks of skilled operators. Job Outlook  The textile industry will continue to undergo change. Greater pro­ ductivity through the introduction of laborsaving machinery and changing business practices are expected to help the industry better compete in the global marketplace. However, these changes mean that employment of textile machinery operators is expected to de­ cline through the year 2005. The industry will update existing and introduce new technology that is expected to significantly increase productivity. New machin­ ery, such as faster shuttleless and air jet looms, and computer-inte­ grated manufacturing processes increase productivity by producing goods at a faster rate. They also allow each operator to monitor a larger number of machines. Many factories are also reorganizing production floors to further increase productivity and to give work­ ers more responsibility. Employment declines due to productivity increases, however, will likely be partially offset by increased demand for textile mill prod­ ucts. As apparel production increases in North America, the de­ mand for textile goods produced in the United States may increase. This increased demand will help to keep jobs in the textile industry. Although employment will continue to decline in the years ahead, many job opportunities will arise from the need to replace workers who leave their jobs. Because the industry is highly automated, per­ sons with technical skills will have better opportunities than others. Earnings  Average weekly earnings for production workers in the textile and manufactured fiber industries were $353 in 1992, compared to $469 for production workers in all manufacturing industries. Moreover, earnings vary significantly depending upon the type of mill and by shift, job specialty, and seniority. Average weekly earnings for pro­ duction workers in the chemical industry, where most extruding machine operators are found, were $623 in 1992. Benefits usually include paid holidays and vacations, health and life insurance, a retirement plan, and sick leave. Some firms provide on-site daycare facilities. Additionally, employees often receive dis­ counts in company-owned outlet stores. Related Occupations  Although employment of textile workers will decline, many job opportunities will arise from the need to replace workers who leave their jobs.  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Metalworking and plastics-working machine operators perform similar duties and have the same entry and training requirements as extruding and forming machine operators and tenders; textile ma­ chine operators and tenders; and textile bleaching and dyeing ma­ chine operators. Setters and setup operators in other industries, for example, in metal fabrication and plastics manufacturing, perform 25  duties comparable to those of textile machine setters and setup oper­ ators. Sources of Additional Information  Information about job opportunities in textile and manmade fiber production is available from local employers or local offices of the State employment service. For general information on careers, technology, or trade regula­ tions in the textile industry, write to: ©’American Textile Manufacturers Institute, Inc. 1801 K St. NW., Suite 900, Washington, DC 20006. ©•Institute of Textile Technology, P.O. Box 391, Charlottesville, VA 22901.  Upholsterers (D.O.T. 780.381 except -030 and -034, .384-014, .684-122)  Nature of the Work  Upholsterers are skilled craft workers who make new furniture and recondition old furniture. Whether making a new piece of furniture, restoring a treasured antique, or simply giving an ordinary living room couch a facelift, upholsterers combine knowledge of fabrics and other materials with artistic flair and manual skill. Some repair and replace automobile upholstery and convertible and vinyl tops. Upholsterers who make new furniture start with the bare wooden frame. Those who recondition old furniture first remove the old cover, padding, and springs, using hammers and tack pullers. They remove the burlap and padding that cover the arms, back, sides, and seat. They examine the springs and replace broken or bent ones. The springs sit on a cloth mat, called “webbing,” that is attached to the frame. If webbing is worn, upholsterers remove all the springs and webbing. Upholsterers may reglue loose sections of the frame and refinish exposed wood. The first step in upholstering new furniture or reupholstering old pieces is to install webbing of nylon, jute, or cotton in the frame to hold the springs. Upholsterers tack webbing to one side of the frame, stretch it tight, and tack it to the opposite side. Additional webbing is woven across the first row of webbing and attached to the frame to form a new mat. After putting springs on the mat so they compress evenly, upholsterers sew or staple each spring to the web­ bing or frame and tie each spring to the ones next to it. Burlap then is stretched over the springs, cut, smoothed, and tacked to the frame. To form a smooth rounded surface over the springs and other parts of the frame, upholsterers cover the furniture with filling ma­ terial. They then cover this with a layer of felt and heavy cloth, and tack the cloth to the frame. Upholsterers measure and cut fabric for arms, backs, and other sections with as little waste as possible. They temporarily stitch pieces together for fitting and after assuring tight and smooth fit of the cover—or noting where adjustments are neces­ sary—they remove the cover, sew it together, and tack, staple, or glue it to the frame. To complete the job, upholsterers sew, tack, or glue on fringes, buttons, or other ornaments. Upholsterers use common handtools, including tack hammers, staple guns, tack and staple removers, pliers, and shears, and special tools such as webbing stretchers and upholstery needles. They may also use sewing machines. Upholsterers who work in upholstery shops may pick up and de­ liver furniture or help customers select new furniture coverings. Those who manage shops also order supplies and equipment and keep business records. Working Conditions  Most upholsterers work inside a shop or factory. Working condi­ tions in these facilities vary—many are spacious, adequately lighted, well ventilated, and well heated; others are small and dusty. The work is not dangerous, but upholsterers must be careful to avoid cuts and bruises when they use sharp tools and when they lift and handle furniture or springs. Upholsterers stand most of the 26  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Upholsterers cover furniture with filling material, felt, and heavy cloth, and tack the cloth to the frame to form a smooth round surface. workday, and they do a lot of bending and heavy lifting. They also have to work in awkward positions for short periods of time. Employment  Furniture upholsterers held about 60,000 jobs in 1992. About 1 out of 3 were self-employed, many of them in their own reupholstery shops. Of the remaining upholsterers, companies that manufacture household and office furniture employed 61 percent and shops that reupholster and repair furniture employed nearly another 17 per­ cent. Over 10 percent worked in shops that specialize in reupholster­ ing the seats of automobiles and other motor vehicles, while small numbers worked in furniture stores. Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement  Most upholsterers are trained on the job as a helper to an exper­ ienced worker. Usually about 3 years of on-the-job training are re­ quired to become a fully skilled upholsterer. On-the-job training in a furniture factory usually is much shorter because the range of skills required is more limited. Others learn upholstery through appren­ ticeship or formal training. When hiring helpers, employers generally prefer people with some knowledge of the trade. Inexperienced persons may get basic training in upholstery in high school, vocational and technical schools, and some community colleges. Programs include sewing machine operation, measuring, cutting, springing, frame repair, tufting, and channeling; as well as business and interior design courses. However, additional training and experience usually are re­ quired before graduates can perform as quickly and efficiently as ex­ perienced upholsterers. Upholsterers should have manual dexterity, good coordination, and strength to lift heavy furniture. An eye for detail and flair for color and creative use of fabrics are helpful. The major form of advancement for upholsterers is opening their own shop. It is easy to open a shop because a small investment in handtools and a sewing machine are all that is needed. The uphol­ stery business is extremely competitive, however, so operating a shop successfully is difficult. Experienced, highly skilled upholster­ ers in large shops and factories may become supervisors. Job Outlook  Employment of upholsterers is expected to grow more slowly than the average for all occupations through the year 2005. Most of the growth will be in furniture manufacturing. Employment in reuphol­ stery shops will decline because, increasingly, consumers prefer to replace worn furniture rather than reupholster it. Each upholstery job is unique and therefore upholstery work does not lend itself to automation; consequently, technology is not expected to affect em­ ployment of upholsterers. Most job openings will arise because of  the need to replace experienced workers who transfer to other occu­ pations or leave the labor force. Opportunities for experienced upholsterers should be good. The number of upholsterers with experience is limited because few young people want to enter the occupation and because few shops are willing to train people. Earnings  Median weekly earnings of upholsterers were $350 in 1992; the mid­ dle 50 percent earned between $260 and $470 per week. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $200, and the top 10 percent earned more than $670. Earnings of self-employed upholsterers depend not only on the size and location of the shop but also on the number of hours worked. Related Occupations  Other workers who combine manual skills and knowledge of mater­ ials such as fabrics and wood are fur cutters, furniture finishers, pat­ tern and model makers, webbing tackers, and casket coverers. Sources of Additional Information  For details about work opportunities for upholsterers in your area, contact local upholstery shops, the local office of the State employ­ ment service, or a local of the Upholstery Division of the United Steel Workers of America. General information about a career as an upholsterer is available from: W Upholstery  and Allied Industries Division, United Steelworkers of America, Local 18, 5320 W. North Ave., Chicago, IL 60639.  Emergencies also can be caused by conditions inside a plant, such as chlorine gas leaks or oxygen deficiencies. To handle these condi­ tions, operators are trained in emergency management response us­ ing special safety equipment and procedures to protect public health and the facility. During these periods, operators may have to work under extreme pressure to correct the problem as quickly as possi­ ble. These periods may create dangerous working conditions and operators must be extremely cautious. The specific duties of plant operators depend on the type and size of plant. In smaller plants, one operator may control all machinery, perform tests, keep records, handle complaints, and do repairs and maintenance. Some operators may handle both a water treatment and a wastewater treatment plant. In larger plants with many em­ ployees, operators may be more specialized and only monitor one process. The staff may also include chemists, engineers, laboratory technicians, mechanics, helpers, supervisors, and a superintendent. Water pollution standards have become increasingly stringent since adoption of the Federal Water Pollution Control Act of 1972, which implemented a national system of uniform controls on the discharge of pollutants. Under the 1972 law and subsequent reauthorizations in 1977 and 1987, it is illegal to discharge any pol­ lutant without a permit. Industrial facilities that send their wastes to municipal treatment plants must meet certain minimum standards and ensure that these wastes have been adequately pretreated so that they do not damage municipal treatment facilities. Municipal treat­ ment plants also must meet stringent discharge standards. Opera­ tors must be familiar with the guidelines established by the Federal Clean Water Act and how they affect their plant. In addition to Fed­ eral regulations, operators also must be aware of any guidelines im­ posed by the State or locality in which the plant operates. Working Conditions  Water and Wastewater Treatment Plant Operators (D.O.T. 954.382-010, -014; 955.362-010, .382, and .585)  Nature of the Work  Clean water is essential for many things: Health, recreation, fish and wildlife, and industry. Water treatment plant operators treat water so that it is safe to drink. Wastewater treatment plant operators re­ move harmful pollution from domestic and industrial wastewater. Water is pumped from wells, rivers, and streams to water treat­ ment plants where it is treated and distributed to customers. Waste materials are collected from customers, carried by water through sewer pipes to wastewater treatment plants where it is treated and returned to streams, rivers, and oceans. Operators in both types of plants control processes and equipment to remove solid materials, chemical compounds, and micro-organisms from the water or to render them harmless. Operators control pumps, valves, and other processing equipment to move the water or wastewater through the various treatment processes, and dispose of the waste materials re­ moved from the water. Operators read and interpret meters and gauges to make sure plant equipment and processes are working properly and adjust con­ trols as needed. They operate chemical-feeding devices; take sam­ ples of the water or wastewater; perform chemical and biological laboratory analyses; and test and adjust the amount of chemicals such as chlorine in the water. Operators also make minor repairs to valves, pumps, and other equipment. They use gauges, wrenches, pliers, and other common handtools, as well as special tools. Water and wastewater treatment plant operators increasingly are relying on computers to help them monitor equipment, make pro­ cess control decisions, and produce reports. They may use special­ ized software to store sampling results. When problems occur, oper­ ators may retrieve data in order to determine the cause of the malfunction. Occasionally operators must work under emergency conditions. A heavy rainstorm, for example, may cause large amounts of waste­ water to flow into sewers, exceeding a plant’s treatment capacity.  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Water and wastewater treatment plant operators work both indoors and outdoors and may be exposed to noise from machinery and some unpleasant odors, although chlorine and other chemicals are used to minimize these. Operators have to stoop, reach, and climb and sometimes get their clothes dirty. They must pay close attention to safety procedures for they may be confronted with hazardous conditions, such as slippery walkways, dangerous gases, and mal­ functioning equipment. Because plants operate continuously for 24 hours every day, operators work one of three 8-hour shifts and on a rotational basis, weekends and holidays. Whenever emergencies arise, operators may be required to work overtime. Employment  Water and wastewater treatment plant operators held about 86,000 jobs in 1992. The vast majority worked for local governments; some worked for private water supply and sanitary services companies, some of which provide operation and management services to local  itiftasasi  4%i>* .tr.  Suburban water treatment plants are often staffed by a small staff and use manual controls in the treatment process. 27  governments on a contract basis. About half worked as water treat­ ment plant operators and half worked as wastewater treatment plant operators. Water and wastewater treatment plant operators are employed throughout the country. Geographically, employment is distributed much like the Nation’s population, with most jobs in larger towns and cities. Although most work full time, those who work in small towns may only work part time at the water or wastewater treat­ ment plant—the remainder of their time may be spent handling other municipal duties. Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement  Trainees usually start as attendants or operators-in-training and learn their skills on the job under the direction of an experienced op­ erator. They leam by observing the processes and equipment in op­ eration and by doing routine tasks such as recording meter readings; taking samples of wastewater and sludge; and doing simple mainte­ nance and repair work on pumps, electric motors, and valves. They also clean and maintain plant equipment. Larger treatment plants generally combine this on-the-job training with formal classroom or self-paced study programs. Operators need mechanical aptitude and should be competent in basic mathematics. Because of the introduction of computer-con­ trolled equipment and more sophisticated instrumentation, a high school diploma generally is required. In addition, employers prefer those who have had high school courses in chemistry, biology, and mathematics. Some positions, particularly in larger cities and towns, are cov­ ered by civil service regulations, and applicants may be required to pass written examinations testing elementary mathematics skills, mechanical aptitude, and general intelligence. Some 2-year programs leading to an associate degree in waste­ water technology and 1-year programs leading to a certificate are available; these provide a good general knowledge of water pollution control as well as basic preparation for becoming an operator. Be­ cause plants are becoming more complex, completion of such courses increases an applicant’s chances for employment and pro­ motion. Most State water pollution control agencies offer training courses to improve operators’ skills and knowledge. These courses cover principles of treatment processes and process control, laboratory procedures, maintenance, management skills, collection systems, safety, chlorination, sedimentation, biological treatment, sludge treatment and disposal, and flow measurements. Some operators take correspondence courses on subjects related to wastewater treat­ ment, and some employers pay part of the tuition for related college courses in science or engineering. As operators are promoted, they become responsible for more complex treatment processes. Some operators are promoted to plant supervisor or superintendent, while others advance by transferring to a larger facility. Some postsecondary training in water and waste­ water treatment coupled with increasingly responsible experience as an operator may be sufficient to qualify for superintendent of a small plant, since at many small plants the superintendent also serves as an operator. However, educational requirements are rising as larger, more complex treatment plants are built to meet new water pollution control standards. With each promotion, the opera­ tor must have greater knowledge of Federal, State, and local regula­ tions. Superintendents of large plants generally need an engineering or science degree. A few operators get jobs with State water pollu­ tion control agencies as technicians, who monitor and provide tech­ nical assistance to plants throughout the State. Vocational-technical school or community college training generally is preferred for tech­ nician jobs. Experienced operators may transfer to related jobs with industrial wastewater treatment plants, companies selling waste­ water treatment equipment and chemicals, engineering consulting firms, or vocational-technical schools. In 49 States, operators must pass an examination to certify that they are capable of overseeing wastewater treatment plant opera­ tions. A voluntary certification program is in effect in the remaining State. Water plant operators must also be certified in most States. Typically, there are different classes of certification for different size treatment plants, and certification requirements vary by State. 28  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  There is no nationally mandated certification program for opera­ tors, and relocation may mean having to become certified in a new location. However, many States have begun accepting other States’ certifications. Job Outlook  Employment of water and wastewater treatment plant operators is expected to grow about as fast as the average for all occupations through the year 2005. The increasing population and growth of the economy are expected to increase demand for water and wastewater treatment services. As new plants are constructed to meet this de­ mand, employment of water and wastewater treatment plant opera­ tors should increase. In addition, some job openings will occur as ex­ perienced operators transfer to other occupations or leave the labor force. Although local government is the largest employer of water and wastewater treatment plant operators, increased reliance on private firms specializing in the operation and management of water and wastewater treatment facilities should shift some employment de­ mand to these companies. Increased pre-treatment activity by man­ ufacturing firms should also create new job opportunities. Water and wastewater treatment plant operators generally have steady employment because the services they provide are essential even during economic downturns. Earnings  Annual salaries of water and wastewater treatment plant operators averaged $26,200 in 1992; the lowest paid 10 percent of the occupa­ tion earned about $15,700, the middle 50 percent of the occupation earned between $ 19,600 and $33,100, and the top 10 percent earned about $39,200. Salaries depend, among other things, on the size and location of the plant, the complexity of the operator’s job, and the operator’s level of certification. In addition to their annual salaries, water and wastewater treat­ ment plant operators generally receive benefits that include health and life insurance, a retirement plan, and educational reimburse­ ment for job-related courses. Related Occupations  Other workers whose main activity consists of operating a system of machinery to process or produce materials include boiler operators, gas-compressor operators, power plant operators, power reactor op­ erators, stationary engineers, turbine operators, chemical plant op­ erators, and petroleum refinery operators. Sources of Additional Information  For information on certification, contact: O' Association of Boards of Certification, 208 Fifth St., Suite 1 A, Ames, IA 50010-6259.  For information on opportunities as a water treatment plant oper­ ator, contact: O’ American Waterworks Association, 6666 West Quincy, Denver, CO 80235.  Additional information is available from: O’Water  Environment Federation, 601 Wythe St., Alexandria, VA 22314.  For information on jobs, contact State or local water pollution control agencies, State water and waste water operator associations, State environmental training centers, or local offices of the State em­ ployment service.  Woodworking Occupations (List of D.O.T. codes available on request from the Chief, Division of Occupational Outlook, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Washington, DC 20212.)  Nature of the Work  Wood is one of the oldest, most basic building materials. Even in our age of sophisticated composites and alloys, the demand for wood  products continues unabated. Helping to meet this demand are pro­ duction woodworkers and precision woodworkers. Production woodworkers can be found in primary industries, such as sawmills and plywood mills, as well as in secondary industries that manufac­ ture furniture, kitchen cabinets, musical instruments, and other fabricated wood products. Precision woodworkers, on the other hand, usually work in small shops that make architectural wood­ work, furniture, and many other specialty items. Woodworkers are employed at some stage of the process through which logs of wood are transformed into finished products. Some of these workers produce the structural elements of buildings; others mill hardwood and softwood lumber; still others assemble finished wood products. They operate machines that cut, shape, assemble, and finish raw wood to make the doors, windows, cabinets, trusses, plywood, flooring, paneling, molding, and trim that are components of most homes. Others may fashion home accessories such as beds, sofas, tables, dressers, and chairs. In addition to these household goods, they also make sporting goods items, including baseball bats, racquets, and oars, as well as musical instruments, toys, caskets, tool handles, and thousands of other wooden items. Production workers usually set up, operate, and tend woodwork­ ing machines—such as power saws, planers, sanders, lathes, joint­ ers, and routers—to cut and shape components from lumber, ply­ wood, and other wood panel products. Working from blueprints, instructions from supervisors, or shop drawings that they produce, woodworkers determine the method of shaping and sequence of as­ sembling parts. Before cutting, they must often measure and mark the materials to be cut. They verify dimensions to adhere to specifi­ cations and may trim parts to insure a tight fit, using handtools such as planes, chisels, wood files, or sandpaper. Production woodworkers generally operate a specific woodwork­ ing machine; however, some wood machine operators are responsi­ ble for a variety of machines. Lower skilled operators may merely press a switch on a woodworking machine and monitor or tend the automatic operation, while more highly skilled operators set up their equipment, cut and shape wooden parts, and verify dimensions using a template, caliper, or rule. In sawmills, machine operators cut logs into planks, timbers, or boards. In veneer mills, they cut ve­ neer sheets from logs for making plywood. While in furniture plants, they make furniture components such as table legs, drawers, rails, and spindles. Many companies have installed computer-controlled machinery, which lends itself to precision, accuracy, and less waste. With com­ puterized numerical controls, an operator can program a machine to perform a sequence of operations automatically, resulting in greater precision and reliability. The integration of computers with equipment has improved production speeds and capabilities, simpli­ fied setup and maintenance requirements, and increased the de­ mand for workers with strong mathematical skills. Whether computer-controlled or manual equipment was used to machine the parts, the next step in the manufacturing process is the production of subassemblies using fasteners and adhesives. These pieces are then brought together to form a complete unit. The prod­ uct is then finish sanded, stained, sealed, and if necessary, coated with a sealer such as lacquer or varnish. Woodworkers may perform this work in teams or be assisted by a helper. Precision or custom woodworkers, such as cabinetmakers, wood pattern and model makers, wood machinists, and furniture and wood finishers, work on a customized basis, often building one-of-akind items. For this reason, they normally need substantial training and an ability to work from detailed instructions and specifications. They often are required to exercise independent judgment when un­ dertaking an assignment. Precision woodworkers generally perform a complete cycle of cutting, shaping, surface preparation, and as­ sembling prepared parts of complex wood components into a fin­ ished wood product.  r Woodworking employment is highly sensitive to the condition of the overall economy. noise and dust and other air quality pollutants. However, these fac­ tors can be controlled by using earplugs and respirators. Rigid ad­ herence to safety precautions minimizes risk of injury from contact with rough woodstock, and from the use of sharp tools and power equipment. The risk of injury is also lowered by the installation of computer-controlled equipment that reduces the physical labor and the hands-on contact with the machine. In secondary industries, such as furniture and kitchen cabinet manufacturing, working conditions also depend on the industry and the particular job. Those employees who operate machinery must wear ear and eye protection, and must always follow safety regula­ tions concerning machine operation and the use of safety shields or guards. Those who work in the finishing area must either be pro­ vided with an appropriate dust or vapor mask, a complete protective safety suit, or they must be in a finishing environment that removes all vapors and particle matter from the atmosphere. Prolonged standing, lifting, and fitting heavy objects are also common charac­ teristics of the job. Employment  Workers in woodworking occupations held about 341,000 jobs in 1992. One of every 7, mostly cabinetmakers and furniture and wood finishers, was self-employed. Employment was distributed as fol­ lows: Woodworkers, precision................................................................. 220,000 Woodworking machine setters and operators............................... 121,000 Head sawyers.................................................................................. 59,000 Woodworking machine operators.................................................. 62,000  Eight of every 10 salaried woodworkers worked in manufacturing industries. One in 4 was employed in establishments fabricating household and office furniture; 1 of every 5 was in establishments making millwork, plywood, and structural wood members, used pri­ marily in construction; and 1 in 8 worked in sawmills and planing mills manufacturing a variety of raw, intermediate, and finished woodstock. Woodworkers also were employed by wholesale and re­ tail lumber dealers, furniture stores, reupholstery and furniture re­ pair shops, and construction firms. Woodworking jobs are found throughout the country. However, production jobs are concentrated in the South and Northwest, close to the supply of wood, while furniture makers are more prevalent in the East. Custom shops can be found everywhere, but are generally concentrated in or near highly populated areas.  Working Conditions  Working conditions vary from industry to industry, and job to job. In primary industries, such as logging and sawmilling, working con­ ditions are physically demanding due to the handling of heavy, bulky material. Workers in this area may also encounter excessive  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement  Most woodworkers are trained on the job, picking up skills infor­ mally from experienced workers. Some acquire skills through voca­ tional education or by working as carpenters on construction jobs. 29  Others may attend colleges or universities that offer training in many areas including wood technology, furniture manufacturing, wood engineering, and production management. These programs prepare students for positions in production, supervision, engineer­ ing, or management. Beginners usually observe and help experienced machine opera­ tors. They may supply material or remove fabricated products from the machine. Trainees do simple machine operating jobs and are at first closely supervised by experienced workers. As they gain experi­ ence, they perform more complex jobs with less supervision. Some may learn to read blueprints, set up machines, and plan the se­ quence of their work. Most woodworkers learn the basic machine operations or job tasks in a few months, but becoming a skilled woodworker often requires 2 years or more. In the past, a high school education was seldom required. How­ ever, persons seeking woodworking jobs can enhance their employ­ ment and advancement prospects by completing high school. Train­ ing in mathematics, science, and computer applications will be beneficial in the future as woodworking technology becomes more sophisticated, and as more companies install computerized equip­ ment. Employers often look for individuals with mechanical ability, manual dexterity, and the ability to pay attention to detail. Advancement opportunities are often limited and depend upon availability, seniority, and a worker’s skills and initiative. Exper­ ienced woodworkers may become inspectors or supervisors respon­ sible for the work of a group of woodworkers. Production workers can advance into these positions by assuming additional responsibil­ ities and by attending workshops, seminars, or college programs. Those who are highly skilled may set up their own woodworking shops.  materials such as metal, plastic, and fiberglass will continue to be used as alternatives to wood in many products, primarily because they are cheaper, stronger, or easier to shape. As a result of these trends, employment opportunities in the pri­ mary wood industries may be more limited than those in the secon­ dary industries. Also, as firms automate production, the demand for well educated workers will increase. Employment in all of the wood­ working occupations is highly sensitive to economic cycles, so the growth in these occupations will be primarily affected by the overall state of the economy. Although this growth will be modest, thousands of openings will arise each year because of the need to re­ place experienced workers who transfer to other occupations or leave the labor force.  Earnings  Median weekly earnings for salaried full-time precision woodwork­ ers were about $385 in 1992. The middle 50 percent earned between $294 and $443. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $244, while the highest 10 percent earned over $630. Median weekly earnings for full-time woodworking machine operators were around $306 in 1992. The middle 50 percent earned between $237 and $392. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $185, while the highest 10 per­ cent earned over $495. Earnings vary by industry, geographic re­ gion, skill, educational level, and by the complexity of the machin­ ery operated. Woodworkers usually receive a basic benefit package including medical and dental benefits and a pension plan. Some woodworkers who are engaged in processing primary wood and building materials, such as those in logging or sawmills, are members of the International Woodworkers of America. Others may belong to the United Furniture Workers of America or the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America.  Job Outlook  Employment in the woodworking occupations is expected to grow more slowly than the average for all occupations through the year 2005. As the Nation’s population, personal income, and business ex­ penditures grow, the demand for wood products will increase. In ad­ dition, the continuing need for repair and renovation of residential and commercial properties is expected to stimulate demand. Oppor­ tunities for woodworkers who specialize in such items as moldings, cabinets, stairs, and windows, should therefore be particularly good. Several factors may limit the growth of woodworking occupa­ tions in coming years. Environmental measures designed to control various pollutants used in or generated by woodworking processes are likely to have a significant impact on employment, especially in secondary industries. Primary industries will be more affected by a shortage of timber as the harvesting of old growth forests on Federal lands becomes more restricted. Technological advances like com­ puterized numerical control machinery and computer-aided design packages will prevent employment from rising as fast as the demand for wood products, particularly in the mills and manufacturing plants where many of the processes can be automated. In addition, some jobs will be lost in the United States as imports continue to grow and as U.S. firms move production to other countries. Finally,  30  https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Related Occupations  Many woodworkers follow blueprints and drawings and use ma­ chines to shape and form raw wood into a final product. Workers who perform similar functions working with other materials include precision metalworkers, metalworking and plastics-working ma­ chine operators, metal fabricators, molders and shapers, and leather workers.  Sources of Additional Information  For information about woodworking occupations, contact local fur­ niture manufacturers, sawmills and planing mills, cabinetmaking or millwork firms, lumber dealers, a local of one of the unions men­ tioned above, or the nearest office of the State employment service. For general information about furniture woodworking occupa­ tions, contact: xw American  Furniture Manufacturers Association, Manufacturing Ser­ vices Division, P.O. Box HP-7, High Point, NC 27261. The Furniture Center, North Carolina State University, Furniture Ex­ tension, Campus Box 7906, Raleigh, NC 27695-7906.  ☆ U.S. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE: 1994 363-539 2450-19  Selected items from The Bureau of Labor Statistics library of  Career and Job Outlook Publications Do you have the latest editions?  0ccupational0utlookHandbook-1994-95Edition The original, and still leading source of authoritative, nontechnical career information for about 250 occupations. Each description includes information on nature of the work, training required, earnings, job prospects, and sources of additional information. 473 pp., $26, hard cover; $23, soft cover. OccupationalOutlookHandbookReprints Groups of related jobs covered in the 1994-95 Occupational OutlookHandbooks available as individual reprints. These reprints are especially useful forjobseekerswhowanttoknow abouta single field and for counselors who need to stretch the contents of a single Handbook among many students. No. 2450 2450-1 2450-2 2450-3 2450-4 2450-5 2450-6 2450-7 2450-8 2450-9 2450-10 2450-11 2450-12 2450-13 2450-14 2450-15 2450-16 2450-17 2450-18 2450-19 2450-20  Occupy OutlooK eii,, <5uoi MAv*99*  Price $24.00 Tomorrow's Jobs: Overview 1.25 Business and Managerial Occupations 2.75 Engineering, Scientific, and Related Occupations 1.75 Computerand Mathematics-Related Occupations 2.00 Social Science and Legal Occupations 1.50 Education and Social Service Occupations and Clergy 2.00 Health Diagnosing Occupations and Assistants 1.50 Dietetics, Nursing, Pharmacy, and Therapy Occupations 1.50 Health Technologists and Technicians 1.50 Communications, Design, Performing Arts, and Related Occupations 1.50 Technologists and Technicians, Except Health 1.25 Sales Occupations 1.50 Clerical and Other Administrative Support Occupations 1.50 Protective Service Occupations and Compliance Inspectors 2.00 Service Occupations: Cleaning, Food, Health, and Personal 1.00 Mechanics, Equipment Installersand Repairers 1.50 Construction Trade and Extractive Occupations 1.25 Metalworking, Plastic-working, and Woodworking Occupations 2.00 Production Occupations 1.50 Transportation and Forestry, Fishing, and Related Occupations 2.00  :•' .  Collatedset ofat!20 reprints  Occupational OutlookQuarterly Keeps you informed about new studies by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Articles cover a wide range of subjects useful to job counselors, labor force analysts, and people choosing careers. New and emerging jobs, unusual jobs, employment projections and trends, and changing technology are a few of the areas covered by this award-winning magazine. Four issues, 40pages each, in color, $8.00; single copy $2.75.  * °B!S%cWSe6  »»no 8»*’1Srf«K;. -7^'-P^rnrt»aWlWB..,hte\0««   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  +z+z  'J$ O^'Orii  «s. 0. Burea^lr  The T*1  'A *>-* ...  *T  W...  Related Publications 1994  Occupational Projections and Training Data  The American Work Force: 1992-2005  Edition  U.S Department o( Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics  A Slaiislical and Research Supplement to the 1994-95 Occupational Outlook Handbook  Bulletin 2452 April 1994  U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics May 1994 Bulletin 2451  lock servr.  repeat with i' l t.G IQ s«!. r.ilight Dt btii | repeat  fo!tr  -,’i;g".t c-f tivcSln ti true  repeat w;Lh x; } to tC if hil:ghfc of btn x * true Lhen '•it wisibH? of fid x to tru-  toVJfiB  BLS Bulletin 2451  BLS Bulletin 2452  Occupational Projections and Training Data, 1994 Edition  The American Work Force: 1992-2005  This supplement to the Occupational Outlook Handbook provides the statistical and technical data supporting the information presented in the Handbook. Education and training planners, career counselors, and jobseekers can find valuable information that ranks occupations by employment growth, earnings, susceptibility to unemployment, separation rates, and part-time work.  Note:  At press time, prices for these publications were not available. For prices and ordering information, contact any of the Bureau of Labor Statistics Regional Offices.   https://fraser.stlouisfed.org Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis  Every 2 years, the Bureau of Labor Statistics producers de­ tailed projections of the U.S. economy and labor force. This bulletin presents the Bureau’s latest analyses of economic and industrial growth, the labor force, and trends in occupa­ tional employment into the 21 st century. An overview article fo­ cuses on important issues raised by these projections.  Bureau of Labor Statistics Regional Offices Boston  1 Congress St., 10th Floor Boston, MA 02114-2023  Phone (617) 565-2327  New York  Room 808, 201 Varick St. New York, NY 10014-4811  Phone (212) 337-2400  Philadelphia  P.O. Box 13309 Philadelphia, PA 19101-3309  Phone (215) 596-1154  Atlanta  1371 Peachtree St. NE. Atlanta, GA 30367-2302  Phone (404) 347-4416  Chicago  9th Floor, Federal Office Bldg. 230 South Dearborn St. Chicago, IL 60604-1595  Phone (312) 353-1880  Dallas  Federal Bldg. 525 Griffin St., Room 221 Dallas, TX 75202-5028  Phone (214) 767-6970  Kansas City  911 Walnut St. Kansas City, MO 64106-2009  Phone (816) 426-2481  San Francisco  71 Stevenson St. P.O. Box 193766 San Francisco, CA 94119-3766  Phone (415)744-6600
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