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Food Processing Operators Job Outlook

Employment of food batchmakers is expected to experience little or no change, growing 1 percent from 2010 to 2020.

Employment of food cooking machine operators and tenders is expected to grow by 5 percent from 2010 to 2020, slower than the average for all occupations

Food processing operators are employed in many industries but are concentrated in food manufacturing industries, such as bakeries and tortilla manufacturing, dairy products, and fruit and vegetable manufacturing. These industries are always seeking ways to increase productivity, usually through automation, which decreases the need for workers. 

Population growth, international trade, and consumer preference for convenience foods will maintain demand for these workers.

However, manufacturing industries can be volatile, and employment of food processing workers is likely to differ by industry and type of food being processed. Although employment for this occupation is projected to increase across all industries, some industries may shrink by 2020, which will generally reduce employment of food processing operators in those industries. These occupations have higher-than-average job turnover and may provide good opportunities despite slow employment growth.

Job Prospects

Food processing industries are becoming more and more consolidated. Job prospects should be best in rural areas or near smaller cities where the large processing facilities are located.

The need to replace food processing operators who retire or leave the occupation for other reasons will create many job openings.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition