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Bookbinders and Bindery Workers - What They Do

How to Advance (Advancement)
With experience, binders can expect increased salaries and more responsibility. Completion of a formal certification program can further advancement opportunities. Without additional training, advancement opportunities outside of bindery work are limited. In large binderies, experienced bookbinders or bindery workers may advance to supervisory positions.

In 2008, bookbinders and bindery workers held about 66,500 jobs, including 6,100 as bookbinders and 60,400 as bindery workers. More than 8 out of 10 bookbinding and bindery jobs were in printing and related support activities. Traditionally, the largest employers of bindery workers were bindery trade shops, which are companies that specialize in providing binding services for printers without binderies or whose printing production exceeds their binding capabilities. However, this type of binding is now being done increasingly in-house, and is now called “in-line finishing.” The publishing industry employed 5 percent of bookbinders and bindery workers.

Job Outlook
Employment of bookbinders and bindery workers is projected to decline rapidly between 2008 and 2018, but opportunities for skilled, specialized bindery workers should be good because of their experience and expertise. Many job openings also will be created by bindery workers who transfer to other occupations.

Job Growth
Overall employment of bookbinders and bindery workers is expected to decline rapidly by 19 percent between 2008 and 2018. Over this period, demand for bindery workers will slow as distribution of advertising supplements shifts from print to electronic media even as print productivity increases. Employment declines, however, may be ameliorated somewhat, because the demand for quick turnaround of print work, typical for most commercial printing work, makes work less amenable to being outsourced to foreign countries. To a great extent, sophisticated equipment has automated much of the mechanical bindery work, allowing more companies to perform bindery services in-house rather than send work to specialized binding shops. Also, more efficient and flexible binding machinery will slow the growth in demand for workers to do specialized binding.

Experienced workers will continue to have the best opportunities for skilled jobs. Prospects for all bindery jobs will be best for workers who have completed training or certification programs, internships, or who have experience in a related production occupation.

Median hourly wages of bookbinders were $14.92 in May 2008, compared to $13.99 per hour for all production occupations. The middle 50 percent earned between $10.34 and $19.46 an hour. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $8.35, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $27.68.

Median hourly wages of bindery workers were $13.17 in May 2008. The middle 50 percent earned between $10.23 and $17.02 an hour. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $8.42, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $21.31.

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