Detroit has long been touted as the center for production and manufacturing. This region has a storied past in this industry, and is looking forward to the future, anticipating the needs of consumers while maintaining and expanding its reach to include worldwide markets. The production of consumer goods and parts in the metal and plastics field is steadily creating more job openings in the Detroit metro area.

Due to the vast non-durable goods industries located within the Detroit metro area, jobs are more readily available in the region statewide as compared to the rest of the country. The nationwide growth in the non-durable goods industries was 6 percent year over year, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. As a comparison, Michigan enjoyed a 7.44 percent growth rate in plastics and products manufacturing over the previous year, according to statistics from the Michigan Department of Technology, Management and Budget.

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Metal and plastics employees operate the machines that fabricate metals and plastics into usable forms of finished materials. Machinists control the production using computers and are highly skilled in this particular area. Machine workers know the ins and outs of the equipment they are using and must monitor them for changes, adjusting controls when necessary. Another aspect of this job includes inspecting finished products for errors, logging measurements into the computer system and testing pieces for accuracy according to specified parameters.

According to the projections, the industry is creating an anticipated 56,100 jobs for metal and plastics machine workers. Projected employment, through 2020, is expected to rise across most occupations within the metal and plastics industry. The greatest strides are anticipated to be computer-controlled machine tool operators, with a long-term projection of 19 percent growth for that job title, growing by 24,000 openings.

Following on the heels of computer-related job growth in this field are the computer numerically controlled machine tool programmers, with an anticipated 11 percent growth in this sector over the long term.

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In addition to computer-related jobs growth potential, two other specific titles are poised for expanded openings for the metals and plastics labor force. Metal-refining furnace operators and tenders, with 16 percent growth in anticipated positions opening, are showing a promising number of available jobs within the next seven years. Foundry mold and coremakers are experiencing a leap of 12 percent growth for this position within that same time frame.

Detroit is not resting on its laurels when it comes to job creation within the metal and plastics field, but instead is looking ahead to anticipate future needs. By filling these growing markets with a skilled work force, Detroit should be able to not only maintain current growth trends in this field, but propel itself successfully into the future.

After receiving a BA in Photography from Savannah College of Art & Design, Nicole Wrona began working with a diverse range of musicians. In addition, she is a freelance writer for numerous publications. Her work can be found at and

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