Manufacturing Occupations in Northwest Florida

The Northwest Florida Manufacturers Council (NWFMC) represents manufacturers and partners in the Northwest Florida region which includes: Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa, Walton, Bay, Holmes, Washington, Jackson, Calhoun, and Liberty Counties. Recently, the council surveyed manufacturers to better define the occupations currently in use. The results might not be unexpected, but it’s always good to know and validate our experiential data.

Standard Occupational Codes (SOC) are defined by the US Department of Labor and are a federal statistical standard used by federal agencies to classify workers into occupational categories for the purpose of collecting, calculating, or disseminating data. The codes can be researched online on the US Bureau of Labor Statistics site,

The results showed that the classifications in northwest Florida’s ten counties range from very broad (2-digit "manufacturing") to very narrow (6-digit "beet sugar manufacturing"). As such, the mix of employees and type of skills needed for all 360 different classifications of manufacturing demand very different staffing needs. Staffing patterns show the occupational makeup of an industry in percentages. The staffing pattern data for Northwest Florida’s manufacturing industry shows that there are at least 301 different occupations (5-digit SOC Code level) comprising the industry.

Northwest Florida manufacturing’s most common occupation is “assembler and fabricator.” Those nearly 1,700 employees, earning a median hourly wage of $13.92, make up 12% of the industry. Industrial machinery mechanics are the next most common, but with only 2.5% of the industry. The occupation patterns also highlight a region’s expertise or specialization in different areas. Both paper goods and woodworking machine setters are in the top five of manufacturing occupations, showcasing some of the dynamics of the area’s industry top employers.

Two of the most common occupations in manufacturing are also commonly found across all industries – sales representatives and customer service representatives. Those two occupations together make up about 4.3% of the entire industry. Interestingly, nine out of the top ten occupations experienced double digit growth over the past 5 years in our region.

You might know, but each Florida Career Academy, Technical college program, College certificates and Associate degrees are aligned to one or more SOC codes.  Knowing what occupations, a region’s industry employ should be aligned to the local educational institution’s career and technical education programs.  NWFMC is now primed to do that analysis and fill and gaps in the educational pipeline that might exist.

Northwest Florida Manufacturing Council March News Monthly.

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