California Occupational Guides

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Detailed Guide for

Packers and Packagers, Hand in California

May also be called: Baggers; Boxers; Consolidators; Courtesy Clerks; Gift Wrappers; Kit Assemblers; Mini Shifters; Order Fillers; Package Makers; and Utility Baggers

What Would I Do?

The production processes of the manufacturing industry have been automated to a large degree. Many assembly line tasks that once were handled by men and women are now done by machines and robots. Even so, some tasks can't be automated, so many production lines still rely on people to inspect and pack or package the end-products by hand.

Hand Packers and Packagers manually box, wrap, bag, and package a wide variety of products and materials and make them ready for transport. They often use small tools and devices such as tape dispensers, staplers, and heated sealants to package the goods they handle. They may examine items for defects, label cartons, stamp information on products, keep records of items packed, and stack packed goods on loading docks. This set of occupations also includes order fillers, who pack materials for shipment, as well as grocery store courtesy clerks. In grocery stores, they may bag groceries, carry them to customers’ cars, and return shopping carts to their place.

Packers and Packagers use tools such as utility knives, shrink wrap equipment, and vacuum packagers. They also use spreadsheet and inventory tracking software during the course of their work day.

Important Tasks and Related Skills

Each task below is matched to a sample skill required to carry out the task.

View the skill definitions
TaskSkill Used in this Task
Measure, weigh, and count products and materials.Production and Processing
Clean containers, materials, supplies, or work areas, using cleaning solutions and hand tools.Coordination
Record product, packaging, and order information on specified forms and records.Learning Strategies
Remove completed or defective products or materials, placing them on moving equipment such as conveyors or in specified areas such as loading docks.Manual Dexterity
Mark and label containers, container tags, or products, using marking tools.Near Vision
Examine and inspect containers, materials, and products to ensure that packing specifications are met.Multilimb Coordination
Transport packages to customers' vehicles.Trunk Strength
Source: U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Information Network (O*NET)

Working Conditions

Most Hand Packers and Packagers work in air-conditioned buildings. They stand most of the time and constantly use their hands in the packaging process. Repetitive motion injuries are a possible work hazard. Workers may experience stress from the pressure of meeting shipping deadlines or keeping up with products coming off the production line. Hand Packers and Packagers usually work eight hour shifts. Shift work is common for Hand Packers and Packagers. Because hand packing and packaging work is available during all shifts and as temporary work, it is an ideal job for those who want their days free to pursue further education or training.

Union membership is available in some industries, the United Food and Commercial Workers Union is an example.

Will This Job Fit Me?

The job of Hand Packer and Packager may appeal to those who enjoy activities that involve practical, hands-on problems and solutions. Hand Packer and Packager jobs involve technical or mechanical activities. Core traits needed by Hand Packers and Packagers include careful attention to detail and a willingness to coordinate work with others.

What Wages and Benefits Can I Expect?

Wages

The median wage in 2015 for Packers and Packagers in California was $20,242 annually, or $9.73 hourly. The median is the point at which half of the workers earn more and half earn less.

Change to Hourly Wages
Annual Wages for 2015Low
(25th percentile)
Median
(50th percentile)
High
(75th percentile)
California$18,778$20,242$25,173
Source: EDD/LMID Occupational Employment Statistics Survey, 2015 Wages do not reflect self-employment.
View Wages for All Areas

Benefits

In larger production plants or where unions are a workplace presence, Packers and Packagers may receive medical, dental, and vision insurance as well as vacation, sick leave, and retirement plans.

What is the Job Outlook?

Employment is expected to grow; however, most job openings will be created by the need to replace Hand Packers and Packagers who retire, transfer to supervisory or managerial positions, or leave the field for other reasons.

Projections of Employment

In California, the number of Packers and Packagers is expected to grow slower than average growth rate for all occupations. Jobs for Packers and Packagers are expected to increase by 11.2 percent, or 10,400 jobs between 2012 and 2022.

Estimated Employment and Projected Growth
Packers and Packagers
Geographic Area
(Estimated Year-Projected Year)
Estimated
Employment
Projected
Employment
Numeric
Change
Percent
Change
Additional Openings
Due to Net
Replacements
California
(2012-2022)
93,000103,40010,40011.224,400
Source: EDD/LMID Projections of Employment by Occupation
View Projected Growth for All Areas

Annual Job Openings

In California, an average of 1,030 new job openings per year is expected for Packers and Packagers, plus an additional 2,440 job openings due to net replacement needs, resulting in a total of 3,480 job openings.

Estimated Average Annual Job Openings
Packers and Packagers
Geographic Area
(Estimated Year-
Projected Year)
Jobs From GrowthJobs Due to
Net Replacements
Total Annual
Job Openings
California
(2012-2022)
1,0302,4403,480
Source: EDD/LMID Projections of Employment by Occupation
View Data for All Areas

How Do I Qualify?

Education, Training, and Other Requirements

The education requirements for Hand Packers and Packagers are minimal. An understanding of spoken and written English is recommended. Training is short-term on-the-job training, and usually amounts to nothing more than a short demonstration from an experienced worker. Most employers prefer to hire applicants with a high school diploma or GED who are at least 18 years old and physically able to perform all phases of the work.

Early Career Planning

High school or elementary math and keyboarding classes may be helpful, as these workers need to take and note measurements, make simple mathematical calculations, and be nimble-fingered to be successful.

Work Study Programs

Training Programs are also available through Regional Occupational Programs such as Manufacturing Technology. To find an ROP program near you, go to the California Association of Regional Occupational Centers and Programs Web site.

Where Would I Work?

Grocery stores employ more Hand Packers and Packagers than any other industry under the job title, courtesy clerk.
The largest industries employing Packers and Packagers are as follows:

Industry TitlePercent of Total Employment for Occupation in California
Grocery Stores 23.5%
Employment Services 10.8%
Grocery Product Merchant Wholesalers 6.3%
Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing & Hunting 5.9%
Warehousing and Storage 4.8%
Source: EDD/LMID Staffing Patterns

Finding a Job

Direct application to employers remains one of the most effective job search methods. Newspaper classified ads and Internet job listings provide helpful local job leads. Online job opening systems include JobCentral at www.jobcentral.com and CalJOBSSM at www.caljobs.ca.gov.

To find your nearest One-Stop Career Center, go to Service Locator. View the helpful job search tips for more resources. (requires Adobe Reader).

Yellow Page Headings

You can focus your local job search by checking employers listed online or in your local telephone directory. Below are some suggested headings where you might find employers of Packers and Packagers.

  • Employment Agencies
  • Food Products
  • Grocers & Markets-Retail
  • Grocers & Markets-Wholesale
  • Meat Packers
  • Plastics Fabricators
  • Warehouses-Private
  • Warehouses-Public-Commercial

Find Possible Employers

To locate a list of employers in your area, go to "Find Employers" on the Labor Market Information Web site:

  • Select one of the top industries that employ the occupation. This will give you a list of employers in that industry in your area.
  • Click on "View Filter Selections" to limit your list to specific cities or employer size.
  • Click on an employer for the street address, telephone number, size of business, Web site, etc.
  • Contact the employer for possible employment.

Where Could This Job Lead?

Workers who demonstrate reliability will be well-positioned for career growth. Opportunities for advancement depend on the industry and employer. Because hand packing and packaging work is available during all shifts and as temporary work, it is an ideal job for those who want their days free to pursue further education or training.

Related Occupations

Below is a list of occupations related to Packers and Packagers with links to more information.

OccupationOccupational
Guide
Industry
Report
Occupational
Profile
Graders and Sorters, Agricultural ProductsProfile
Molders, Shapers, and Casters, Except Metal and PlasticProfile
Packaging and Filling Machine Operators and TendersProfile
Plating and Coating Machine Setters, Operators, and Tenders, Metal and PlasticProfile
Printing Press OperatorsProfile

Other Sources

These links are provided for your convenience and do not constitute an endorsement by EDD.

For the Career Professional

The following codes are provided to assist counselors, job placement workers, or other career professionals.

SystemCode
SOC - Standard Occupational Classification53-7064
O*NET - Occupational Information Network
   Packers and Packagers, Hand53-7064.00
   Interest Codes (RIASEC)RCE