Food and tobacco processing workers operate equipment that mixes, cooks, or processes ingredients used in the manufacture of food and tobacco products.
Most food and tobacco processing workers are employed in manufacturing facilities. These workplaces are usually noisy and may be hot or cold, depending on the goods being produced. Because of production schedules, working early morning, evening, or night shifts is common. Work hazards may include slips, falls, and cuts.
How to Become a Food and Tobacco Processing Worker
There are no formal education requirements for some processing workers. However, food batchmakers and food cooking machine operators typically need a high school diploma. Food and tobacco processing workers learn their skills on the job.
Employment of food and tobacco processing workers is projected to grow 2 percent from 2014 to 2024, slower than the average for all occupations. The need to replace workers who leave the occupation should result in many job openings. Job prospects should be best in large food processing facilities, which are commonly located in rural areas or near smaller cities.
This occupation supported 198,300 jobs in 2012 and 222,900 jobs in 2014, reflecting an increase of 12.4%. In 2012, this occupation was projected to increase by 0.3% in 2022 to 198,800 jobs. As of 2014, to keep pace with prediction, the expected number of jobs was 198,400, compared with an observed value of 222,900, 12.3% higher than expected. This indicates current employment trends are much better than the 2012 trend within this occupation. In 2014, this occupation was projected to increase by 1.8% in 2024 to 226,399 jobs. Linear extrapolation of the 2012 projection for 2022 results in an expected number of 198,900 jobs for 2024, 12.1% lower than the 2014 projection for 2024. This indicates expectations for future employment trends are much better than the 2012 trend within this occupation.