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)
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
- Direct items according to established routing schemes, using computer-controlled keyboards or voice-recognition equipment.
- Bundle, label, and route sorted mail to designated areas, depending on destinations and according to established procedures and deadlines.
- Serve the public at counters or windows, such as by selling stamps and weighing parcels.
- Train new workers.
- Distribute incoming mail into the correct boxes or pigeonholes.
- Operate various types of equipment, such as computer scanning equipment, addressographs, mimeographs, optical character readers, and bar-code sorters.
- Search directories to find correct addresses for redirected mail.
- Clear jams in sorting equipment.
- 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.
- Open and label mail containers.
- Rewrap soiled or broken parcels.
- Weigh articles to determine required postage.
- Move containers of mail, using equipment such as forklifts and automated "trains".
- Sort odd-sized mail by hand, sort mail that other workers have been unable to sort, and segregate items requiring special handling.
- Accept and check containers of mail from large volume mailers, couriers, and contractors.
- Load and unload mail trucks, sometimes lifting containers of mail onto equipment that transports items to sorting stations.
- Cancel letter or parcel post stamps by hand.
- Dump sacks of mail onto conveyors for culling and sorting.
Tools & Technology
Tools used in this occupation:
- Automatic postal or mailing machine — Mail processing machines
- Bar code reader equipment — Barcode scanners
- Belt conveyors — Conveyor belts
- Carts — Hand-pushed carts
- Delivery trucks — Mail trucks
- Depalletizers — Automatic pallet unloaders
- Forklifts — Warehouse forklifts
- Franking or postage machines — Postage marking machines
- Interactive voice recognition equipment — Voice recognition equipment
- Label making machines — Addressographs
- Laser fax machine — Laser facsimile machines
- Material handling racks — General purpose mail containers
- Optical character recognition systems — Optical character readers
- Parcel wrapping machines — Packaging machines
- Personal computers
- Photocopiers — Copy machines
- Point of sale POS terminal — Point of sale workstations
- Postal scales — Mail scales
- Scanners — Computer data input scanners
- Sorters — Barcode sorters; Mail sorting machines; Postal automated redirection systems; Small parcel bundle sorter machines (see all 8 examples)
- Stamp canceling machines — Mail canceling machines
- Tugger — Electric material moving tractors
- Wrapping machinery — Delivery point packagers
Technology used in this occupation:
- Bar coding software — Barcode reader software
- Data base user interface and query software — Address Management System AMS *; Directory software
- Enterprise resource planning ERP software — Delivery Operations Information System DOIS *
- Human resources software — Time and Attendance Collection System TACS *
- Inventory management software — Automated Package Processing System APPS *
- Map creation software — Delivery Routing System DRS *
- Optical character reader OCR or scanning software — Multi-line optical character reader OCR software
- Point of sale POS software — NCR Advanced Store
- Time accounting software — Electronic Time Clock ETC *
* Software developed by a government agency and/or distributed as freeware or shareware.
No knowledge met the minimum score.
- 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.
- Monitoring — Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
- Reading Comprehension — Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
- Speaking — Talking to others to convey information effectively.
- Critical Thinking — Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
- Near Vision — The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
- Category Flexibility — The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.
- 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.
- Speech Clarity — The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
- Written Comprehension — The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
- 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.
- 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).
- Oral Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
- Oral Comprehension — The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
- 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.
- 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.
- Selective Attention — The ability to concentrate on a task over a period of time without being distracted.
- Speech Recognition — The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
- Static Strength — The ability to exert maximum muscle force to lift, push, pull, or carry objects.
- Getting Information — Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
- Handling and Moving Objects — Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things.
- 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.
- Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge — Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
- Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships — Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
- Judging the Qualities of Things, Services, or People — Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people.
- Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events — Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
- Processing Information — Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
Detailed Work Activities
- Operate vehicles or material-moving equipment.
- Sort mail.
- Sell products or services.
- Operate computers or computerized equipment.
- Route mail to correct destinations.
- Weigh parcels to determine shipping costs.
- Attach identification information to products, items or containers.
- Prepare outgoing mail.
- Package objects for shipping.
- Verify shipping documentation.
- Supervise clerical or administrative personnel.
- Train personnel.
- Distribute incoming mail.
- Load materials or equipment.
- Maintain office equipment in proper operating condition.
- Obtain personal or financial information about customers or applicants.
- Unload materials or equipment.
- Receive shipments.
- Indoors, Environmentally Controlled — 100% responded “Every day.”
- Time Pressure — 83% responded “Every day.”
- Importance of Being Exact or Accurate — 37% responded “Very important.”
- Frequency of Decision Making — 72% responded “Every day.”
- Work With Work Group or Team — 76% responded “Extremely important.”
- Face-to-Face Discussions — 73% responded “Every day.”
- Spend Time Making Repetitive Motions — 51% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
- Contact With Others — 64% responded “Constant contact with others.”
- Exposed to Contaminants — 58% responded “Every day.”
- Physical Proximity — 65% responded “Moderately close (at arm's length).”
- Freedom to Make Decisions — 40% responded “A lot of freedom.”
- Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results — 52% responded “Very important results.”
- Importance of Repeating Same Tasks — 48% responded “Extremely important.”
- Spend Time Using Your Hands to Handle, Control, or Feel Objects, Tools, or Controls — 51% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
- Spend Time Standing — 45% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
- Degree of Automation
- Sounds, Noise Levels Are Distracting or Uncomfortable — 58% responded “Every day.”
- Telephone — 43% responded “Every day.”
- Responsible for Others' Health and Safety — 41% responded “Moderate responsibility.”
- Wear Common Protective or Safety Equipment such as Safety Shoes, Glasses, Gloves, Hearing Protection, Hard Hats, or Life Jackets — 38% responded “Every day.”
- Pace Determined by Speed of Equipment — 31% responded “Important.”
- Spend Time Bending or Twisting the Body — 46% responded “About half the time.”
- Structured versus Unstructured Work — 34% responded “Limited freedom.”
- Duration of Typical Work Week — 75% responded “40 hours.”
- Responsibility for Outcomes and Results — 29% responded “No responsibility.”
|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)|
Percentage of Respondents
|Education Level Required|
|54||Less than high school diploma|
|40||High school diploma or equivalent|
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.
- 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.
- Attention to Detail — Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
- Cooperation — Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
- Dependability — Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
- Integrity — Job requires being honest and ethical.
- Self Control — Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
- Adaptability/Flexibility — Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
- Concern for Others — Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
- Stress Tolerance — Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high stress situations.
- Social Orientation — Job requires preferring to work with others rather than alone, and being personally connected with others on the job.
- Initiative — Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Wages & Employment Trends
|Median wages (2014)||$26.21 hourly, $54,520 annual|
|Employment (2012)||130,000 employees|
|Projected growth (2012-2022)||Decline (-3% or lower)|
|Projected job openings (2012-2022)||9,400|
|Top industries (2012)|
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2014 wage data and 2012-2022 employment projections . "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.
Job Openings on the Web
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 . Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor. Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition.