Employment of shipping, receiving, and traffic clerks is projected to grow 0 percent from 2010 to 2020, and employment of stock clerks and order fillers is projected to grow 1 percent during the same period, both experiencing little or no change.
An expected increase in the use of radiofrequency identification (RFID) tags will enhance the productivity of these two occupations. RFID tags allow stock clerks to locate an item or count inventory much faster than they previously could. In warehouses, shipping, receiving, and traffic clerks will be affected by RFID tags as well as increased automation, because both devices should make it easier to keep track of material. The productivity increases resulting from these technologies will allow fewer clerks to do the same amount of work that previously required more workers.
Employment of material and product inspectors is projected to grow 12 percent from 2010 to 2020, about as fast as the average for all occupations. RFID tags are expected to increase accuracy in shipping, reducing the number of times a product needs to be weighed, checked, or measured, and in turn reducing the demand for material inspectors. In addition, certain types of automation may do some of the job functions of these clerks.
Employment of production, planning, and expediting clerks is projected to grow 7 percent from 2010 to 2020, slower than the average for all occupations. These clerks are less likely to be affected by RFID or automation because they spend more time doing office work than shipping or stock clerks do. However, production clerks are employed mostly by slow-growing or declining manufacturing industries, which will limit their growth.
There should be favorable job opportunities for material recording clerks because of the need to replace workers who leave the occupation. The increase in RFID and other sensors will enable clerks who are more comfortable with computers to have better job prospects.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition