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Machinists and Tool and Die Makers Job Outlook

Overall employment of machinists and tool and die makers is expected to grow 7 percent from 2010 to 2020, slower than the average for all occupations. Employment growth will vary by specialty.

Employment of machinists is projected to grow 8 percent from 2010 to 2020, slower than the average for all occupations.

Despite improvements in technologies such as CNC machine tools, autoloaders, high-speed machining, and lights-out manufacturing, machinists will still be required to set up, monitor, and maintain these automated systems.

In addition, employers are expected to continue needing machinists who have a wide range of skills and are capable of performing modern production techniques and almost any task in a machine shop. As manufacturers will continue to rely heavily on skilled machinists as they invest in new equipment, modify production techniques, and implement product design changes more rapidly.

Employment of tool and die makers is projected to experience little or no change from 2010 to 2020. Foreign competition in manufacturing and advances in automation, including CNC machine tools and computer-aided design, should improve worker productivity, requiring fewer workers. 

Job Prospects

Job opportunities for machinists and tool and die makers should be excellent as employers continue to value the wide-ranging skills of these workers. Also, many young people with the educational and personal qualifications needed to become machinists or tool and die makers prefer to attend college or may not wish to enter production occupations.

In fact, employers in certain parts of the country report difficulty attracting skilled workers and apprenticeship candidates with the abilities necessary to fill job openings.

Therefore, the number of workers learning to be machinists or tool and die makers is expected to be smaller than the number of job openings arising each year from the need to replace experienced machinists who retire or leave the occupation for other reasons.

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