Skip to Navigation
share:

Worker Class

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 whether each person currently employed works for a for-profit business, a nonprofit, a government, or is self employed. 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. Annual data since 2005 are presented 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.

iconEmployment by Class of Worker as a Share of Total Employment, 2011

Loading Data...

Visualization Notes:

About two-thirds of those either currently employed or previously employed worked as employees of for-profit businesses, both nationally and in Arizona, according to respondents to the 2011 American Community Survey. The share was higher in Arizona, offset by a lower proportion working at nonprofit organizations in Arizona.

iconPrivate-Sector Wage and Salary Employment as a Share of Total Employment

Loading Data...

Visualization Notes:

Of those either currently employed or previously employed, the share who were employees of private-sector companies (including nonprofit organizations) has fluctuated over time without a trend, both nationally and in Arizona. The share in Arizona has been a little less than the U.S. average since 2008.

iconGovernment Employment as a Share of Total Employment

Loading Data...

Visualization Notes:

The share of those either currently employed or previously employed who were government employees rose nationally and in Arizona from 2008 to 2010. Demand for many public services rises during recessions, keeping government employment from dropping as much as employment in the private sector. This began to reverse in 2011. The share in Arizona has been slightly higher than the U.S. average since 2008.

iconSelf Employment as a Share of Total Employment

Loading Data...

Visualization Notes:

The share of those either currently employed or previously employed who were self-employed dropped marginally nationally and in Arizona between 2005 and 2011. The share in Arizona has been similar to the national average.

iconPrivate-Sector Wage and Salary Employment as a Share of Total Employment, 2007-to-2011 Average

Loading Data...

Visualization Notes:

Less than half of those living in Apache and La Paz counties who were either employed when contacted by the American Community Survey or who were previously employed were employees of private-sector companies (including nonprofit organizations). In contrast, more than three-fourths of those in Maricopa County either worked for or had most recently worked for private-sector companies. Maricopa was the only county with a percentage higher than the state and national figures between 2007 and 2011.

iconGovernment Employment as a Share of Total Employment, 2007-to-2011 Average

Loading Data...

Visualization Notes:

Public-sector employees made up less than 15 percent of all workers in three counties, but more than 30 percent in three counties. Despite housing the state capital, the percentage of government workers was lowest in Maricopa County between 2007 and 2011, less than the national average.

iconSelf Employment as a Share of Total Employment, 2007-to-2011 Average

Loading Data...

Visualization Notes:

The percentage of all workers who were self employed ranged from less than 7 percent to more than 15 percent across Arizona between 2007 and 2011. The percentages in populous Maricopa and Pima counties were close to the national and state averages of 10 percent.

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.