BLS Launches New Occupational Outlook Handbook Online Today

April 4, 2012

The BLS just launched its updated New Occupational Outlook Handbook Online last week, on March 29, 2012.

We were pleased to see this given some attention.

We were also pleased to have provided information to the BLS on some of the job titles occupations that they updated.

It is an improvement, but the absence of “manufacturing” from the list of Occupational Groups is puzzling-

Has no one at BLS been listening to all the speeches by the President about “Manufacturing” and its importance to America?

To look up Manufacturing, you need to select “Production” as an Occupational Group.

Farmers produce, miners produce, those of us in Fabricated metals / machining- we manufacture. We make things.

But in the new OOH, we’re filed under production.

Production, you know, like Food Processing Operators, Water and Wastewater Treatment Operators, and Laundry and Dry Cleaning Operators.

I guess they think manufacturing (making things) is like running a sewage treatment plant or doing somebody else’s laundry?

Why is Manufacturing like doing someone elses laundry? It makes perfect sense to the folks in Washington D.C..

So here’s the scoop- the contents of the new OOH  are current, authoritative, and useable .

And hard to find. I asked a colleague and he required several tries to find CNC operator.

But you need to find them. So here’s the key:

Machinist and Tool and Die Makers (But NOT CNC!)

CNC Machine Operators and Programmers (hint, you’ll find these under Metal and Plastic Machine Operators.)

Heres what the BLS has to say about Metal and Plastic Machine Operators:

How to Become a Metal or Plastic Machine Worker

“A few weeks of on-the-job training are enough for most workers to learn basic machine operations, but 1 year or more is required to become highly skilled. Although a high school diploma is not required, employers prefer to hire workers who have one.”

Okay, so they didn’t get this one right.

Well maybe they did for machine tenders, but certainly not for CNC machinists.

And you won’t find Computer Numeric Controlled Machine Programmer under the Computer and Information Technology Occupational Group.

You’ll find them in the alphabetical list which links to the second tab of that metal and plastic machine operator page.

According to Tab 3 on the metal and plastic machine operator there are just 16,600 Computer Numerically Controlled Machine Tool Programmers, Metal and Plastic.

2010-2020 Job Outlook for CNC Operators and Programmers can be found here.

The way I see it, Taxonomy is difficult, and the BLS’s decision to hide “Manufacturing” under Production doesn’t make sense to this aging baby boomer.

I see the world through Fabricated Metal Glasses and  manufacturing is people making things, not tending to  waste water or dry cleaning.

But the data and information that is available on the new site is current, authoritative, and I can say from my perspective – was vetted by people like me who helped the economists at BLS see these jobs from outside the beltway.

Congratulations for updating the Occupational Outlook Handbook Online.

We may not agree with all of your wording or taxonomy, but we are pleased to see good information about the opportunities for work in Manufacturing.

Even if they can’t say “Manufacturing” in Washington D.C..

Why do you think the officials in Washington D.C. can’t say the “M” word?”

Shrug photo link


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