Hand Laborers and Material Movers

Annual Earnings Percentiles

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  • Supported: 1
  • Analytical: 1
  • Social: 0
  • Creative: 0

What Hand Laborers and Material Movers Do

Hand laborers and material movers manually move freight, stock, or other materials. Others feed or remove material to and from machines, clean vehicles, pick up unwanted household goods, and pack materials for moving.

Work Environment

Most hand laborers and material movers work full time. Because materials are shipped around the clock, some workers, especially those in warehousing, work overnight shifts.

How to Become a Hand Laborer or Material Mover

Formal education is not usually required to become a hand laborer or material mover. Employers typically require only that applicants be physically able to perform the work.

College Majors

Showing data from the American Community Survey for the following US Census occupation categories:

  • Packers and packagers, hand
  • Laborers and freight, stock, and material movers, hand
  • Cleaners of vehicles and equipment
  • Machine feeders and offbearers
  • Refuse and recyclable material collectors

Bachelor's degree majors are shown.

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    Job Outlook

    Employment of hand laborers and material movers is projected to grow 5 percent from 2014 to 2024, about as fast as the average for all occupations. Job prospects should be very good because of the need to replace workers who leave these occupations.

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    Growth & Trends

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    This occupation supported 3,428,700 jobs in 2012 and 3,719,300 jobs in 2014, reflecting an increase of 8.5%. In 2012, this occupation was projected to increase by 10.0% in 2022 to 3,770,499 jobs. As of 2014, to keep pace with prediction, the expected number of jobs was 3,497,000, compared with an observed value of 3,719,300, 6.4% 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 5.1% in 2024 to 3,894,900 jobs. Linear extrapolation of the 2012 projection for 2022 results in an expected number of 3,838,800 jobs for 2024, 1.4% lower than the 2014 projection for 2024. This indicates expectations for future employment trends are about on track with the 2012 trend within this occupation.