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Employment-to-Population Ratio

Description: 

The employment-to-population (E-P) ratio, a proxy for the workforce participation rate, is an important determinant of average per capita income in an area. For areas in which the working-age share of the population is near average, the E-P ratio also is a measure of economic health. The employment-to-population ratio is calculated as total employment divided by total population. Total employment includes an estimate of the number of proprietors as well as the total number of wage and salary workers.

The latest employment-to-population ratio by county is presented on Arizona Indicators, along with data for the same year for the United States, the U.S. metro average, the U.S. nonmetro average, and Arizona. The ratio for Arizona is expressed as a percentage of the national average for each year back to 1969. In addition, the employment-to-population ratio is displayed for each area, beginning with 1969.

Data Source: 

U. S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Economic Analysis. Annual estimates of total employment by state are released in September. County data are released two months later, in November. All of the data can be accessed from http://www.bea.gov/regional/index.htm.

Annual population estimates, expressed as of July 1, are produced by the U. S. Department of Commerce, Census Bureau. The national and state estimates are released in December, with county figures released the following March. The time series of population estimates is most easily accessed from the BEA: http://www.bea.gov/regional/index.htm.

Data Quality Comments: 

The employment figures are estimates. Instead of measuring the number of individuals employed, the number of jobs is estimated—a person holding two jobs is counted twice. No distinction is made between full-time and part-time employment.

iconEmployment-to-Population Ratio, 2013

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Visualization Notes:

Reasonable targets for Arizona are for the state’s employment-to-population ratio to be within 5 percent of the national average, for the larger metro counties to have a figure within 5 percent of the U.S. metro average, and for the nonmetro counties to have a figure within 5 percent of the nonmetro average.

In 2013, the employment-to-population ratio was 51.2 in Arizona and 57.7 nationally. Of the state’s eight metropolitan counties, the employment-to-population ratio in 2013 was greater than the U.S. metro average only in Coconino; Maricopa County’s figure was close to the average but the figure in each of the other metro counties was far below the norm. In the seven nonmetro counties, the employment-to-population ratio exceeded the U.S. nonmetro average in Greenlee but was considerably below average in the other counties.

iconEmployment-to-Population Ratio in Arizona as a Percentage of the National Average

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Visualization Notes:

A reasonable target is for Arizona’s employment-to-population ratio to be within 5 percent of the national average. This was the case from 1984 through 1988. Otherwise, the employment-to-population ratio in Arizona generally has been between 6-and-9 percent below the national average, with the ratio somewhat cyclical, being higher during economic expansions.

The employment-to-population ratio rose more in Arizona than the U.S. average from 2003 through 2006, raising Arizona’s figure to only 4.4 percent less than average in 2006. However, Arizona’s ratio fell in each of the next seven years relative to the U.S. average, reaching a record low at 11.2 percent below average in 2013.

iconEmployment-to-Population Ratio

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Visualization Notes:

The employment-to-population ratio nationally and in Arizona has increased substantially over the last 40 years, with decreases occurring only during economic recessions. Increasing workforce participation among women was the primary factor pushing the ratio higher during the 1970s and 1980s. Since then, the changing age distribution has been a major factor. Gains in the ratio likely will end when the baby-boom generation retires.

The employment-to-population ratio dropped an unusual amount between 2008 and 2010, reflecting the length and depth of the recession. The ratio fell considerably more in Arizona than the national average. Gains in the ratio occurred in 2011, 2012, and 2013, with slightly smaller increases each year in Arizona relative to the nation.

Data Source

U. S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Economic Analysis. Annual estimates of total employment by state are released in September. County data are released two months later, in November. All of the data can be accessed from http://www.bea.gov/regional/index.htm.

Annual population estimates, expressed as of July 1, are produced by the U. S. Department of Commerce, Census Bureau. The national and state estimates are released in December, with county figures released the following March. The time series of population estimates is most easily accessed from the BEA: http://www.bea.gov/regional/index.htm.