Skip to Navigation
share:

Occupation

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 question is asked regarding the person’s most recent employment. From this information, the Census Bureau assigns an occupation to each person; occupations are grouped hierarchically into broader categories. Annual data by category 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 occupational 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, occupational data reported by the U.S. Department of Labor 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 in Occupational Groups as a Share of Total Employment

Loading Data...

Visualization Notes:

In part due to the economic recession disproportionately affecting some occupations, the occupational mix changed somewhat between 2005 and 2011, nationally and in Arizona. Increases in share occurred in the professional category and in the services category while declines occurred particularly in the construction and extraction category and the production category. The decrease in construction and extraction occupations was much deeper in Arizona than the U.S. average while the gain in services was greater in Arizona.

iconEmployment by Occupational Group as a Share of Total Employment, 2011

Loading Data...

Visualization Notes:

The occupational mix in Arizona in 2011 was somewhat different from the national average. Relatively few Arizonans worked in production occupations and in professional occupations. This was offset by larger shares in services, administrative support, and sales occupations.

iconEmployment in Professional Occupational Groups as a Share of Total Employment, 2007-to-2011 Average

Loading Data...

Visualization Notes:

On average between 2007 and 2011, the share of Arizonans working in management, business, and financial occupations was less than the national average in all Arizona counties except Maricopa. Professional occupations and production occupations also were less common in most counties. In contrast, the services share and the construction and extraction share were greater than average in most Arizona counties.

iconEmployment in Service and Sales Occupational Groups as a Share of Total Employment, 2007-to-2011 Average

Loading Data...

Visualization Notes:

On average between 2007 and 2011, the share of Arizonans working in management, business, and financial occupations was less than the national average in all Arizona counties except Maricopa. Professional occupations and production occupations also were less common in most counties. In contrast, the services share and the construction and extraction share were greater than average in most Arizona counties.

iconEmployment in Administrative Support and Agriculture Occupational Groups as a Share of Total Employment, 2007-to-2011 Average

Loading Data...

Visualization Notes:

On average between 2007 and 2011, the share of Arizonans working in management, business, and financial occupations was less than the national average in all Arizona counties except Maricopa. Professional occupations and production occupations also were less common in most counties. In contrast, the services share and the construction and extraction share were greater than average in most Arizona counties.

iconEmployment in Construction and Maintenance Occupational Groups as a Share of Total Employment, 2007-to-2011 Average

Loading Data...

Visualization Notes:

On average between 2007 and 2011, the share of Arizonans working in management, business, and financial occupations was less than the national average in all Arizona counties except Maricopa. Professional occupations and production occupations also were less common in most counties. In contrast, the services share and the construction and extraction share were greater than average in most Arizona counties.

iconEmployment in Production and Transportation Occupational Groups as a Share of Total Employment, 2007-to-2011 Average

Loading Data...

Visualization Notes:

On average between 2007 and 2011, the share of Arizonans working in management, business, and financial occupations was less than the national average in all Arizona counties except Maricopa. Professional occupations and production occupations also were less common in most counties. In contrast, the services share and the construction and extraction share were greater than average in most Arizona counties.

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.