Material recording clerks track product information in order to keep businesses and supply chains on schedule. They ensure proper scheduling, recordkeeping, and inventory control.


Material recording clerks typically do the following:

  • Keep records of items shipped, received, or transferred to another location
  • Compile reports on various changes in production or inventory
  • Organize the assembly, distribution, or delivery of goods to meet production schedules
  • Prepare materials for shipping by labeling or checking packages
  • Examine products for damage or defects
  • Check inventory records for accuracy

Material recording clerks use computers or hand-held devices to keep track of inventory. Sensors and tags enable these electronic tools to automatically detect when and where products are moved, allowing clerks to keep updated reports without manually counting items.

The following are examples of types of material recording clerks:

Production, planning, and expediting clerks manage the flow of information, work, and materials within or among offices in a business. They compile reports on the progress of work and on any production problems that arise. These clerks set workers’ schedules, estimate costs, keep track of materials, and write special orders for new materials. They also do general office tasks, such as entering data or distributing mail. Expediting clerks maintain contact with vendors to ensure that supplies and equipment are shipped on time.

Shipping, receiving, and inventory clerks keep track of and record outgoing and incoming shipments. Clerks may scan barcodes with handheld devices or use radio frequency identification (RFID) scanners to keep track of inventory. They check to see whether shipment orders were processed correctly in their company’s computer system. They also compute freight costs, prepare invoices, and write inventory reports. Some clerks move goods from the warehouse to the loading dock.

Material and product inspecting clerks weigh, measure, check, sample, and keep records on materials, supplies, and equipment that enters a warehouse. They verify the quantity and quality of items they are assigned to examine, checking for defects and recording what they find. They use scales, counting devices, and calculators. Some decide what to do about a defective product, such as to scrap it or send it back to the factory to be repaired.

Work Environment

Material recording clerks held about 1.2 million jobs in 2021. Employment in the detailed occupations that make up material recording clerks was distributed as follows:

Shipping, receiving, and inventory clerks 814,300
Production, planning, and expediting clerks 377,900
Weighers, measurers, checkers, and samplers, recordkeeping               55,900

The largest employers of material recording clerks were as follows:

Manufacturing 28%
Wholesale trade 14
Food and beverage stores               3

Material recording clerks usually work in an office inside a warehouse or manufacturing plant.

These workers also may spend time on the warehouse or plant floor to handle packages or automatic equipment, such as conveyor systems.

Injuries and Illnesses

Some material recording clerks may need to lift heavy items and to bend frequently, which may lead to injury. Using proper lifting techniques helps to reduce the risk of harm.

Work Schedules

Most material recording clerks work full time. Some work nights and weekends or holidays.

Education and Training

Material recording clerks typically need a high school diploma or equivalent and are trained on the job.


Material recording clerks typically need a high school diploma or equivalent.

Some employers prefer to hire production, planning, and expediting clerks who have a college degree.


Material recording clerks usually learn on the job. Training for most material recording clerks lasts up to 1 month. Production, planning, and expediting clerks may train for up to 6 months.

Material recording clerks first may learn to count stock and mark inventory and then move on to more difficult tasks, such as recordkeeping. Production clerks first typically learn how their company operates before they write production and work schedules.

Workers learn safety rules as part of their training. Many of these rules are standardized through the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).


With additional training or education, material recording clerks may advance to other positions, such as purchasing agent, within their company.

Personality and Interests

Material recording clerks typically have an interest in the Building, Persuading and Organizing interest areas, according to the Holland Code framework. The Building interest area indicates a focus on working with tools and machines, and making or fixing practical things. The Persuading interest area indicates a focus on influencing, motivating, and selling to other people. The Organizing interest area indicates a focus on working with information and processes to keep things arranged in orderly systems.

If you are not sure whether you have a Building or Persuading or Organizing interest which might fit with a career as a material recording clerk, you can take a career test to measure your interests.

Material recording clerks should also possess the following specific qualities:

Clerical skills. Typing, filing, and recordkeeping are common tasks for most material recording clerks.

Communication skills. Production, planning, and expediting clerks are frequently in contact with suppliers, vendors, and production managers and need to be able to communicate the firm’s scheduling needs effectively..

Customer-service skills. Stock clerks sometimes interact with customers in retail stores and may have to get the item the customer is looking for from the storeroom.

Detail oriented. Material inspectors check items for defects, some of which are small and difficult to spot.

Math skills. Some types of material recording clerks are required to have basic math skills. For example, they might use math to calculate shipping costs or take measurements.  


The median annual wage for material recording clerks was $37,870 in May 2021. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $28,820, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $61,090.

Median annual wages for material recording clerks in May 2021 were as follows:

Production, planning, and expediting clerks $48,040
Weighers, measurers, checkers, and samplers, recordkeeping              37,610
Shipping, receiving, and inventory clerks 36,890

In May 2021, the median annual wages for material recording clerks in the top industries in which they worked were as follows:

Manufacturing $39,240
Wholesale trade 37,700
Food and beverage stores               36,850

Most material recording clerks work full time. Some work nights and weekends or holidays.

Job Outlook

Overall employment of material recording clerks is projected to decline 3 percent from 2021 to 2031.

Despite declining employment, about 131,900 openings for material recording clerks are projected each year, on average, over the decade. All of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to other occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire. 


Projected employment of material recording clerks varies by occupation (see table). As e-commerce continues to grow, companies are expanding their use of automated storage and retrieval tools to meet rising demand for products and for faster delivery. These types of technologies, including radio frequency identification (RFID) tags and collaborative robots, will improve efficiencies of many warehouse operations. Demand for shipping, receiving, and inventory clerks may be limited as use of technology expands and increases productivity of some manual tasks, improving efficiency.

However, employment of production, planning, and expediting clerks is projected to increase because their tasks remain difficult to automate.

For More Information

For more information about material recording clerks, visit


Warehousing Education and Research Council




Where does this information come from?

The career information above is taken from the Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook. This excellent resource for occupational data is published by the U.S. Department of Labor every two years. Truity periodically updates our site with information from the BLS database.

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