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Industry

Description: 

The American Community Survey (ACS) has been conducted on an ongoing basis for the entire country since 2005. Annually, calendar-year ACS results are released for areas with a population of at least 65,000. Due to the small sample size, single-year estimates are not available for less-populous areas. Combined estimates for three years of data are available annually for areas with a population of at least 20,000; five years of data are combined for less populous areas. The substantial sampling error present in the ACS is discussed in the data quality comments section below.

The ACS questionnaire asks respondents to answer the following questions regarding the current employment of each person: the kind of business or industry, the kind of work, and the most important activities and duties. If a person has more than one job, the responses are for the job at which the most hours are worked. If a person is not currently employed, but worked in the past five years, the same questions are asked regarding the person’s most recent employment. From this information, the Census Bureau assigns an industry to each person who has worked in the last five years; industries are grouped hierarchically into broader categories. Annual data by sector since 2005 are presented on Arizona Indicators for the United States and Arizona, but data for each of the 15 Arizona counties are limited to a five-year average due to the substantial sampling error.

Data Source: 

U. S. Department of Commerce, Census Bureau http://factfinder2.census.gov/faces/nav/jsf/pages/index.xhtml. Annual ACS estimates are released in September; five-year averages are available in December.

Data Quality Comments: 

The Census Bureau publishes the ACS sampling error with every estimate, expressed as the margin of error with 90 percent confidence. The following is an example:

The estimate of the poverty rate in Maricopa County in 2009 was 15.2 percent, with a margin of error of + or – 0.6 percentage points. The interpretation is that there is a 90 percent likelihood that the actual poverty rate was within the confidence interval of 14.6 percent to 15.8 percent. A one-in-ten chance exists that the real rate was outside this range.

For the nation and other very populous areas, the annual ACS estimates are highly accurate. For moderately populous areas such as Arizona, sampling error is moderately large, so caution is urged in using the annual ACS data for the state. The sampling error for less populous areas, such as most of Arizona’s counties, is quite large, even when using five-year averages. Thus, considerable caution is urged in using the five-year ACS data for counties other than Maricopa and Pima.

The published margin of error should be taken into consideration when deciding whether to use a result from the ACS. Whether the reported sampling error is too large depends on the user’s purpose for accessing the data and on the volatility of the measure over time and across geographic areas.

The industrial data from the ACS are based on the responses of individuals and are aggregated on a place-of-residence basis. Those not currently employed but who worked in the last five years are included. In contrast, industrial data reported by the U.S. Department of Labor and other sources are obtained from employers, are limited to those currently employed, and are reported on a place-of-work basis. (For example, an individual who lives in Pinal County but works in Maricopa County is counted in Maricopa County by the U.S. Department of Labor but is included in the Pinal County data in the ACS.)

iconEmployment by Sector as a Share of Total Employment in Arizona, 2011

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Visualization Notes:

The economy is divided into 20 sectors. The two sectors with the most employment in Arizona in 2011 were retail trade and health care and social assistance, each accounting for more than 12 percent of the total.

iconEmployment by Sector as a Share of Total Employment, Arizona Less the National Average, 2011

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Visualization Notes:

Arizona’s industrial mix in 2011 was moderately different from the national average. Most of the difference was due to a small manufacturing sector in Arizona; the health care and social assistance sector also was relatively smaller in Arizona. Somewhat larger-than-average shares were present in Arizona in the administrative support, finance and insurance, and accommodation and food services sectors.

iconEmployment in Sectors as a Share of Total Employment

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Visualization Notes:

Over the long term, the industrial mix changes only gradually. However, since some sectors are more cyclical than others, noticeable variations can occur in the short term. Between 2005 and 2011, the economic cycle was particularly intense, as the economy shifted from a boom in 2005-06 to the deepest and longest recession since the 1930s in 2008-09, followed by a weak recovery. The cycle was more extreme in Arizona, particularly in the construction and real estate sectors. Thus, the sectoral shares for these sectors fell much more in Arizona than nationally. The sectoral share also dropped in manufacturing, nationally and in Arizona. The largest increase in share nationally and in Arizona occurred in health care and social assistance.

iconSectoral Composition of Employment, Difference From National Average, 2007-to-2011 Average

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Visualization Notes:

The coefficient of specialization is calculated as the sum of the absolute differences in sectoral shares between a local area and the national average. The differences from the U.S. average were small in the three most populous counties (Maricopa, Pima and Pinal). In contrast, in several of the less populous counties, economic activity is heavily concentrated in a few sectors. Greenlee County — which is dominated by mining — had an industrial mix most different from the national average between 2007 and 2011.

iconEmployment in Construction and Manufacturing Sectors as a Share of Total Employment, 2007-to-2011 Average

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Visualization Notes:

The average sectoral share of manufacturing between 2007 and 2011 was less than the national average in every Arizona county and the finance and insurance share was below average in all counties except Maricopa. In contrast, the sectoral share in accommodation and food services was greater than the U.S. average in most counties, since much of Arizona is a popular destination for tourists.

iconEmployment in Retail Trade, Finance and Insurance Sectors as a Share of Total Employment, 2007-to-2011 Average

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Visualization Notes:

The average sectoral share of manufacturing between 2007 and 2011 was less than the national average in every Arizona county and the finance and insurance share was below average in all counties except Maricopa. In contrast, the sectoral share in accommodation and food services was greater than the U.S. average in most counties, since much of Arizona is a popular destination for tourists.

iconEmployment in Real Estate and Technical Services Sectors as a Share of Total Employment, 2007-to-2011 Average

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Visualization Notes:

The average sectoral share of manufacturing between 2007 and 2011 was less than the national average in every Arizona county and the finance and insurance share was below average in all counties except Maricopa. In contrast, the sectoral share in accommodation and food services was greater than the U.S. average in most counties, since much of Arizona is a popular destination for tourists.

iconEmployment in Administrative Support and Waste Management, Health Care and Social Assistance Sectors as a Share of Total Employment, 2007-to-2011 Average

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Visualization Notes:

The average sectoral share of manufacturing between 2007 and 2011 was less than the national average in every Arizona county and the finance and insurance share was below average in all counties except Maricopa. In contrast, the sectoral share in accommodation and food services was greater than the U.S. average in most counties, since much of Arizona is a popular destination for tourists.

iconEmployment in Accommodation and Food Services Sector as a Share of Total Employment, 2007-to-2011 Average

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Visualization Notes:

The average sectoral share of manufacturing between 2007 and 2011 was less than the national average in every Arizona county and the finance and insurance share was below average in all counties except Maricopa. In contrast, the sectoral share in accommodation and food services was greater than the U.S. average in most counties, since much of Arizona is a popular destination for tourists.

Data Source

U. S. Department of Commerce, Census Bureau http://factfinder2.census.gov/faces/nav/jsf/pages/index.xhtml. Annual ACS estimates are released in September; five-year averages are available in December.