Your Research Guide to a Career in Manufacturing

By Jasen Williams, vice president of agency relations at RecruitMilitary and a veteran of the United States Marine Corps

I encourage job seekers to use this guide to learn about job opportunities in manufacturing.


The National Association of Manufacturers has a wealth of information. For information on job openings, you can access thousands of company websites via a list of more than 225 industry associations than are in that organization’s Council of Manufacturing Associations. The listings are linked to the sites of the member associations. Most of those sites contain links to the manufacturing companies that are members of the associations. And most of the company websites contain “jobs” or “careers” pages.


The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), a part of the United States Department of Labor, has published projections on employment and output for the Manufacturing sector of the economy for the years from 2012 through 2022.


The Manufacturing sector includes 21 subsectors: and, on an “Industries at a Glance” page for each subsector, the BLS describes the nature of the subsector; provides workforce statistics – employment and layoffs, extended mass layoffs, employment by occupation, projections, earnings, and earnings by occupation – presents data on work-related fatalities, injuries, and illnesses; provides industry-specific pricing information; and discusses workplace trends in terms of numbers of establishments and productivity.

  1. Food Manufacturing

  2. Beverage and Tobacco Product Manufacturing

  3. Textile Mills

  4. Textile Product Mills

  5. Apparel Manufacturing

  6. Leather and Allied Product Manufacturing

  7. Wood Product Manufacturing

  8. Paper Manufacturing

  9. Printing and Related Support Activities

  10. Petroleum and Coal Products Manufacturing

  11. Chemical Manufacturing

  12. Plastics and Rubber Products Manufacturing

  13. Nonmetallic Mineral Product Manufacturing

  14. Primary Metal Manufacturing

  15. Fabricated Metal Product Manufacturing

  16. Machinery Manufacturing

  17. Computer and Electronic Product Manufacturing

  18. Electrical Equipment, Appliance, and Component Manufacturing

  19. Transportation Equipment Manufacturing

  20. Furniture and Related Product Manufacturing

  21. Miscellaneous Manufacturing


Another BLS publication, the Occupational Outlook Handbook has chapters on production occupations,
including assemblers and fabricators; bakers; food and tobacco processing workers; machinists and tool and die makers; metal and plastic machine workers; painting and coating workers; printing workers; quality control inspectors; semiconductor processors; slaughterers, meat packers, and meat, poultry, and fish cutters and trimmers; welders, cutters, solderers, and brazers; and woodworkers. Each chapter covers the nature of the work, work environment, how to qualify for the occupation, pay, job outlook, and similar occupations.


To learn about the issues, the major players, and the general buzz in manufacturing, I suggest that you read magazines and view media websites on the subject. Most of the magazines are available both in print and online. In the listings below, the name of the publisher follows the name of the magazine or site.

Assembly Magazine BNP Media

Automation World PMMI Media Group

Automotive Industries Automotive Industries Ltd.

Beverage Industry BNP Media

Chemical Processing Putman Media, Inc.

Flow Control Grand View Media Group

Food Manufacturing Advantage Business Media

Food Processing Putman Media, Inc.

Hydrocarbon Processing Gulf Publishing Company

Industrial Heating BNP Media

Industry Week Penton Media, Inc.

Manufacturing Business Technology Advantage Business Media

Manufacturing Engineering Society of ManufacturingEngineers

Manufacturing Global White Digital Media

Manufacturing Today Phoenix Media Corporation Advantage Business Media

MetalForming Magazine Precision Metalforming Association

Packaging Digest UBM Canon

Paper, Film & Foil Converter YTC Media Inc.

PaperAge O’Brien Communications, Inc.

Petfood Industry WATT Global Media

Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Putman Media, Inc.

Plastics News Crain Communications, Inc.

Printing Impressions NAPCO Media

Processing Grand View Media Group

[Quality Magazine] ( BNP Media

Reliable Plant Noria Corporation

Textile World Billian Publishing, Inc.

The Fabricator FMA Communications, Inc.

Woodworking Network Vance Publishing Corporation

By Jasen Williams