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Summary Report for:
43-5053.00 - Postal Service Mail Sorters, Processors, and Processing Machine Operators

Prepare incoming and outgoing mail for distribution. Examine, sort, and route mail. Load, operate, and occasionally adjust and repair mail processing, sorting, and canceling machinery. Keep records of shipments, pouches, and sacks; and other duties related to mail handling within the postal service.

Sample of reported job titles: Automation Clerk, Computer Forwarding System Markup Clerk (CFS Markup Clerk), Data Conversion Operator, Distribution Clerk, Flat Sorter Operator, Flat Sorting Machine Clerk (FSM Clerk), Mail Handler, Mail Processor, Parcel Post Distribution Machine Operator (PDPMO), Small Package and Bundle Sorter Clerk (SPBS Clerk)

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Tasks  |  Tools & Technology  |  Knowledge  |  Skills  |  Abilities  |  Work Activities  |  Detailed Work Activities  |  Work Context  |  Job Zone  |  Education  |  Credentials  |  Interests  |  Work Styles  |  Work Values  |  Related Occupations  |  Wages & Employment  |  Job Openings  |  Additional Information

Tasks

  • Direct items according to established routing schemes, using computer-controlled keyboards or voice-recognition equipment. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Bundle, label, and route sorted mail to designated areas, depending on destinations and according to established procedures and deadlines. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Serve the public at counters or windows, such as by selling stamps and weighing parcels. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Train new workers. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Distribute incoming mail into the correct boxes or pigeonholes. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Operate various types of equipment, such as computer scanning equipment, addressographs, mimeographs, optical character readers, and bar-code sorters. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Search directories to find correct addresses for redirected mail. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Clear jams in sorting equipment. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Check items to ensure that addresses are legible and correct, that sufficient postage has been paid or the appropriate documentation is attached, and that items are in a suitable condition for processing. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Open and label mail containers. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Rewrap soiled or broken parcels. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Weigh articles to determine required postage. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Move containers of mail, using equipment such as forklifts and automated "trains". See more occupations related to this task.
  • Sort odd-sized mail by hand, sort mail that other workers have been unable to sort, and segregate items requiring special handling. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Accept and check containers of mail from large volume mailers, couriers, and contractors. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Load and unload mail trucks, sometimes lifting containers of mail onto equipment that transports items to sorting stations. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Cancel letter or parcel post stamps by hand. See more occupations related to this task.
  • Dump sacks of mail onto conveyors for culling and sorting. See more occupations related to this task.

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Tools & Technology

Tools used in this occupation:

  • Automatic postal or mailing machine — Mail processing machines See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Bar code reader equipment — Barcode scanners See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Belt conveyors — Conveyor belts See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Carts — Hand-pushed carts See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Delivery trucks — Mail trucks See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Depalletizers — Automatic pallet unloaders See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Dollies See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Forklifts — Warehouse forklifts See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Franking or postage machines — Postage marking machines See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Interactive voice recognition equipment — Voice recognition equipment See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Label making machines — Addressographs See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Laser fax machine — Laser facsimile machines See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Material handling racks — General purpose mail containers See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Optical character recognition systems — Optical character readers See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Parcel wrapping machines — Packaging machines See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Personal computers See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Photocopiers — Copy machines See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Point of sale POS terminal — Point of sale workstations See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Postal scales — Mail scales See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Scanners — Computer data input scanners See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Sorters — Barcode sorters; Mail sorting machines; Postal automated redirection systems; Small parcel bundle sorter machines (see all 8 examples) See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Stamp canceling machines — Mail canceling machines See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Tugger — Electric material moving tractors See more occupations related to this tool.
  • Wrapping machinery — Delivery point packagers See more occupations related to this tool.

Technology used in this occupation:

  • Bar coding software — Barcode reader software See more occupations related to this technology.
  • Data base user interface and query software — Address Management System AMS *; Directory software See more occupations related to this technology.
  • Enterprise resource planning ERP software — Delivery Operations Information System DOIS * See more occupations related to this technology.
  • Human resources software — Time and Attendance Collection System TACS * See more occupations related to this technology.
  • Inventory management software — Automated Package Processing System APPS * See more occupations related to this technology.
  • Map creation software — Delivery Routing System DRS * See more occupations related to this technology.
  • Optical character reader OCR or scanning software — Multi-line optical character reader OCR software See more occupations related to this technology.
  • Point of sale POS software — NCR Advanced Store See more occupations related to this technology.
  • Time accounting software — Electronic Time Clock ETC * See more occupations related to this technology.

* Software developed by a government agency and/or distributed as freeware or shareware.

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Knowledge

No knowledge met the minimum score.

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Skills

  • Active Listening — Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times. See more occupations related to this skill.
  • Monitoring — Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action. See more occupations related to this skill.
  • Reading Comprehension — Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents. See more occupations related to this skill.
  • Speaking — Talking to others to convey information effectively. See more occupations related to this skill.
  • Critical Thinking — Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems. See more occupations related to this skill.

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Abilities

  • Near Vision — The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer). See more occupations related to this ability.
  • Category Flexibility — The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways. See more occupations related to this ability.
  • Manual Dexterity — The ability to quickly move your hand, your hand together with your arm, or your two hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble objects. See more occupations related to this ability.
  • Speech Clarity — The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you. See more occupations related to this ability.
  • Written Comprehension — The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing. See more occupations related to this ability.
  • Finger Dexterity — The ability to make precisely coordinated movements of the fingers of one or both hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble very small objects. See more occupations related to this ability.
  • Information Ordering — The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations). See more occupations related to this ability.
  • Oral Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand. See more occupations related to this ability.
  • Oral Comprehension — The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences. See more occupations related to this ability.
  • Perceptual Speed — The ability to quickly and accurately compare similarities and differences among sets of letters, numbers, objects, pictures, or patterns. The things to be compared may be presented at the same time or one after the other. This ability also includes comparing a presented object with a remembered object. See more occupations related to this ability.
  • Problem Sensitivity — The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem. See more occupations related to this ability.
  • Selective Attention — The ability to concentrate on a task over a period of time without being distracted. See more occupations related to this ability.
  • Speech Recognition — The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person. See more occupations related to this ability.
  • Static Strength — The ability to exert maximum muscle force to lift, push, pull, or carry objects. See more occupations related to this ability.

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Work Activities

  • Getting Information — Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Handling and Moving Objects — Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Performing General Physical Activities — Performing physical activities that require considerable use of your arms and legs and moving your whole body, such as climbing, lifting, balancing, walking, stooping, and handling of materials. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge — Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships — Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Judging the Qualities of Things, Services, or People — Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events — Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Processing Information — Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data. See more occupations related to this activity.

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Detailed Work Activities

  • Operate vehicles or material-moving equipment. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Package objects for shipping. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Sort mail. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Sell products or services. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Operate computers or computerized equipment. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Route mail to correct destinations. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Weigh parcels to determine shipping costs. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Attach identification information to products, items or containers. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Unload materials or equipment. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Load materials or equipment. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Prepare outgoing mail. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Verify shipping documentation. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Supervise clerical or administrative personnel. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Train personnel. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Distribute incoming mail. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Maintain office equipment in proper operating condition. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Obtain personal or financial information about customers or applicants. See more occupations related to this activity.
  • Receive shipments. See more occupations related to this activity.

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Work Context

  • Indoors, Environmentally Controlled — 100% responded “Every day.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Time Pressure — 83% responded “Every day.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Importance of Being Exact or Accurate — 37% responded “Very important.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Frequency of Decision Making — 72% responded “Every day.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Work With Work Group or Team — 76% responded “Extremely important.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Face-to-Face Discussions — 73% responded “Every day.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Spend Time Making Repetitive Motions — 51% responded “Continually or almost continually.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Contact With Others — 64% responded “Constant contact with others.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Exposed to Contaminants — 58% responded “Every day.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Physical Proximity — 65% responded “Moderately close (at arm's length).” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Freedom to Make Decisions — 40% responded “A lot of freedom.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results — 52% responded “Very important results.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Importance of Repeating Same Tasks — 48% responded “Extremely important.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Spend Time Using Your Hands to Handle, Control, or Feel Objects, Tools, or Controls — 51% responded “Continually or almost continually.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Spend Time Standing — 45% responded “Continually or almost continually.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Degree of Automation See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Sounds, Noise Levels Are Distracting or Uncomfortable — 58% responded “Every day.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Telephone — 43% responded “Every day.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Responsible for Others' Health and Safety — 41% responded “Moderate responsibility.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Wear Common Protective or Safety Equipment such as Safety Shoes, Glasses, Gloves, Hearing Protection, Hard Hats, or Life Jackets — 38% responded “Every day.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Pace Determined by Speed of Equipment — 31% responded “Important.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Spend Time Bending or Twisting the Body — 46% responded “About half the time.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Structured versus Unstructured Work — 34% responded “Limited freedom.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Duration of Typical Work Week — 75% responded “40 hours.” See more occupations related to this work context.
  • Responsibility for Outcomes and Results — 29% responded “No responsibility.” See more occupations related to this work context.

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Job Zone

Title Job Zone Two: Some Preparation Needed
Education These occupations usually require a high school diploma.
Related Experience Some previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is usually needed. For example, a teller would benefit from experience working directly with the public.
Job Training Employees in these occupations need anywhere from a few months to one year of working with experienced employees. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with these occupations.
Job Zone Examples These occupations often involve using your knowledge and skills to help others. Examples include sheet metal workers, forest fire fighters, customer service representatives, physical therapist aides, salespersons (retail), and tellers.
SVP Range (4.0 to < 6.0)

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Education


Percentage of Respondents
Education Level Required
54   Less than high school diploma
40   High school diploma or equivalent Help
4   Post-secondary certificate Help

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Credentials

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Interests

Interest code: CR

  • Conventional — Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow. See more occupations related to this interest.
  • Realistic — Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others. See more occupations related to this interest.

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Work Styles

  • Attention to Detail — Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks. See more occupations related to this work style.
  • Cooperation — Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude. See more occupations related to this work style.
  • Dependability — Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations. See more occupations related to this work style.
  • Integrity — Job requires being honest and ethical. See more occupations related to this work style.
  • Self Control — Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations. See more occupations related to this work style.
  • Adaptability/Flexibility — Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace. See more occupations related to this work style.
  • Concern for Others — Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job. See more occupations related to this work style.
  • Stress Tolerance — Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high stress situations. See more occupations related to this work style.
  • Social Orientation — Job requires preferring to work with others rather than alone, and being personally connected with others on the job. See more occupations related to this work style.
  • Initiative — Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges. See more occupations related to this work style.

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Work Values

  • Support — Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees. Corresponding needs are Company Policies, Supervision: Human Relations and Supervision: Technical. See more occupations related to this work value.
  • Relationships — Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment. Corresponding needs are Co-workers, Moral Values and Social Service. See more occupations related to this work value.
  • Working Conditions — Occupations that satisfy this work value offer job security and good working conditions. Corresponding needs are Activity, Compensation, Independence, Security, Variety and Working Conditions. See more occupations related to this work value.

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Related Occupations

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Wages & Employment Trends

Median wages (2014) $26.21 hourly, $54,520 annual
State wages Local Salary Info
 
Employment (2012) 130,000 employees
Projected growth (2012-2022) Decline (-3% or lower) Decline (-3% or lower)
Projected job openings (2012-2022) 9,400
State trends Employment Trends
 
Top industries (2012)

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2014 wage data external site and 2012-2022 employment projections external site. "Projected growth" represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2012-2022). "Projected job openings" represent openings due to growth and replacement.

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Job Openings on the Web

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Sources of Additional Information

Disclaimer: Sources are listed to provide additional information on related jobs, specialties, and/or industries. Links to non-DOL Internet sites are provided for your convenience and do not constitute an endorsement.

  • Postal Service Workers external site. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor. Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition.

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