Welding is the most common way of permanently joining metal parts. In this process, heat is applied to metal pieces, melting and fusing them to form a permanent bond. Because of its strength, welding is used in shipbuilding, automobile manufacturing and repair, aerospace applications, and thousands of other manufacturing activities. About 80 percent of welding jobs are in manufacturing. Welding also is used to join beams when constructing buildings, bridges, and other structures and to join pipes in pipelines, power plants, and refineries.
Demand for welders is increasing in the construction, manufacturing and utilities industries. Despite overall employment declines in manufacturing, the outlook for welders is far stronger than for other occupations within that industry. The basic skills of welding are the same across industries, so welders can easily shift from one industry to another depending on where they are needed most. For example, welders laid off in the auto industry have been able to find work in the booming oil and gas industry, although the shift may require relocating.
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