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What is Light Industrial?

The most iconic industrial jobs involve heavy equipment and massive footprints in sectors such as aerospace, chemical production, infrastructure construction, machine tool building, mining, oil and gas, shipbuilding, and steel production.

There is, however, another side to industrial employment, which is light industrial centered around food processing, distributors, suppliers and warehouses in industrial parks and smaller facilities across America’s cities, towns, and suburbs.

“Heavy industry is dominated by large companies, as it is very capital intensive and requires significant investment in heavy equipment, massive buildings, large machine tools, and extensive infrastructure,” says the Corporate Financial Institute. “As opposed to the light industry – which is less capital intensive and sells products to consumers – heavy industry sells its products to large purchasers such as businesses, industries, and governments.”

What the Light Industrial Workplace Looks Like

Legal definitions of light industry can differ across jurisdictions, but the jobs are typically in warehouses.

A look at the Miami Beach, Florida zoning ordinances, for example, provide a glimpse of what light industrial workplaces look like and the employment opportunities.

In the Miami Beach, for example, light industrial uses include:

  • Assembly or packaging of goods not utilizing heavy machinery, including food and beverage products, small electronics, watches, jewelry, clocks, musical instruments, and products from previously prepared materials (cloth, leather, canvas, rubber, etc.)
  • Light manufacturing, not utilizing heavy machinery, including ceramic products, glass products, hand tools and electronic equipment
  • Printing, engraving, lithographing, media services and publishing, not utilizing heavy machinery
  • Wholesale business and sales, warehouses, mini and other storage buildings, and distribution facilities, except those storing or distributing flammable or explosive materials
  • Artisan studios, including crafts, furniture, cabinet and woodworking shops, glass blowing and others
  • Plumbing, electrical, air conditioning and other types of shops that wholesale or store parts on site

17 Different Types of Light Industrial Jobs

Perhaps one of the best ways to understand exactly what light industrial encompasses is to look at the various employment opportunities.

PRT Staffing, with 15 locations across Florida, Georgia, Arizona and Illinois, has helped employers’ staff the following type of light industrial workers. Here are 17 of the different types of light industrial jobs that PRT Staffing has coordinated over the years:

  • Assemblers
  • Bindery Workers
  • Bottlers
  • Conveyor Tenders
  • Food Processors
  • Forklift Operators
  • Inventory Technicians
  • Line Supervisors
  • Material Handlers
  • Package Seal Operators
  • Packers and Sorters
  • Production Control
  • Quality Control Specialists
  • Retail Shut Down Specialists
  • Shipping and Receiving Employees
  • Stockers
  • Warehouse Personnel

Light Industrial Jobs Increasingly in Demand

Light industrial jobs are increasingly in demand, especially in today’s historic tight labor market, and the rise of e-commerce distribution centers during the pandemic.

The publication Freight Waves reports that 73 percent of warehouse operators can not find enough labor.

Even prior to the pandemic there was concern with Deloitte and The Manufacturing Institute in 2018 predicting that by 2028 as many as 2.4 million manufacturing jobs would go unfilled.

“Manufacturers in the United States are experiencing some of the highest levels of growth we’ve seen in decades, yet the industry seems unable to keep up with the resulting rebound in job growth,” said Paul Wellener, vice chairman, Deloitte LLP, and U.S. industrial products and construction leader. “With nearly 2 million vacant new jobs expected by 2028, compounded by 2.69 million vacancies from retiring workers, the number of open positions could be greater than ever and might pose not only a major challenge for manufacturers but may threaten the vitality of the industry and our economy.”

Current Light Industrial Employment Opportunities

The demand for light industrial workers can be seen in current temporary employment opportunities, which include everything from warehouse associates to packers and assemblers to food prep and sanitation.

Enticements from various employers for current light industrial jobs include:

  • Flexible scheduling
  • Free hot breakfasts, lunches and snacks
  • Benefits
  • Overtime

Oftentimes, temporary employment in light industrial jobs can lead to full time positions.

Contact PRT Staffing today to find out how we can meet your needs for light industrial temporary workers that will help your company get the job done right.