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Employment

While the ACS is not always the best source for employment data, it provides interesting information for small geographies that other sources don’t cover.

Overview

The Census Bureau asks a number of questions about whether individuals are employed, and if they are not unemployed or retired, about their occupation and industry. Census Reporter collects these together under the tag 'employment'. There are also questions about where geographically people are employed, how they get to work, how long it takes to get to work, and similar questions, which Census Reporter collects under the tag 'commute'.

Employment Status

When talking about employment status, the Census Bureau divides the population 16 years and older into two categories: in the labor force or not in the labor force. People who have never worked or who are retired are not in the labor force. People who are not currently working but have recently and would like to work are considered in the labor force, but unemployed. People who are actively working are described as either in the civilian labor force or in the armed forces. This is probably easier understood when shown as a set of nested lists:

  • Total:
    • In labor force:
      • Civilian labor force:
        • Employed
        • Unemployed
      • Armed Forces
    • Not in labor force

The simplest presentation of this data is in table B23025 which has simply those columns. (This table was added to the ACS in 2011 for all three releases.) For finer detail, table B23001 breaks down those respondents into male and female and then within the sexes, into age brackets of varying sizes. In the ACS 1- and 3-year releases, a collapsed version of this table, C23001 has the same basic structure but fewer distinct age brackets.

Employment status is reported by sex, age and race in the B23002 and C23002 series of tables. Neither of these tables appear in a non-racial tabulation, but each is tabulated in the standard nine subsets for race and hispanic origin. The C23002 tables have only two age brackets: 16-64 and 65 and older. The C23002 tables are available for all releases, but the B23002 tables are only offered in the ACS 1- and 3-year releases.

There are dozens more tables which crosstabulate employment status with other characteristics, such as education, poverty status, disability status, veteran status and more.

In the table below, some table names have been simplified. Employment status is always only for the population 16 years and over. Questions about work status and hours worked are for the last 12 months. References to the respondent's "own children" are for children under 18 years.

Code Title
B23001 Sex by Age by Employment Status
B23002ª Sex by Age by Employment Status (racial iterations)
B23003 Presence of Own Children by Age of Own Children by Employment Status for Females 20 to 64 Years
B23006 Educational Attainment by Employment Status for the Population 25 to 64 Years
B23007 Presence of Own Children by Family Type by Employment Status
B23008 Age of Own Children in Families and Subfamilies by Living Arrangements by Employment Status of Parents
B23009 Presence of Own Children by Family Type by Number of Workers in Family
B23010 Presence of Own Children in Married-couple Families by Work Experience of Householder and Spouse
B23013 Median Age by Sex for Workers 16 to 64 Years
B23018 Aggregate Usual Hours Worked by Sex for Workers 16 to 64 Years
B23020 Mean Usual Hours Worked for Workers 16 to 64 Years
B23022 Sex by Work Status by Usual Hours Worked Per Week by Weeks Worked for the Population 16 to 64 Years
B23024 Poverty Status by Disability Status by Employment Status for the Population 20 to 64 Years
B23025 Employment Status
Also available in racial iterations.
Table also available in "collapsed" version: change "B" to "C" for table code.
ªNo basic table is offered–only racial iteration tables.

Industry / Occupation / Class of Worker

The ACS provides some pretty detailed information about the specific kinds of work Americans do. These tables are gathered together in a series whose table codes begin with B24 and C24.

Occupation

The "detailed occupation" tables include over 500 occupations, but are only available summarized at the national level. Below the national level, begin with tables B24010 and B24020 to analyze the work people do in a place. In these and the other occupation tables, occupations are organized into five high level groups:

  • Management, business, science, and arts occupations
  • Natural resources, construction, and maintenance occupations
  • Production, transportation, and material moving occupations
  • Sales and office occupations
  • Service occupations

In different tables, these groups are subdivided to varying depths. For B24010/B24020, there are a total of 150 columns for each of male and female workers. These columns are nested so that some values represent the total of columns below them. If you do your own summing, Be careful not to double-count by mixing columns of different depths.

Important: the ACS 5-year release does not include the B24010/B24020 tables. To analyze occupation data for smaller geographies, you must use the C24010/C24020 tables. These have the same five high level groups, but are broken down into only 35 columns for each of male and female workers.

Industry

In addition to the work Americans do, the ACS counts the industries in which they do that work. In these tables, there are 13 top level categories for industries. As with occupations, be careful not to double-count if you are doing your own summing.

These are the 13 top-level industries:

  • Agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting, and mining
  • Arts, entertainment, and recreation, and accommodation and food services
  • Construction
  • Educational services, and health care and social assistance
  • Finance and insurance, and real estate and rental and leasing
  • Information
  • Manufacturing
  • Other services, except public administration
  • Professional, scientific, and management, and administrative and waste management services
  • Public administration
  • Retail trade
  • Transportation and warehousing, and utilities
  • Wholesale trade

Class of Worker

These are the tabulation options for "class of worker."

  • Private for-profit wage and salary workers:
    • Employee of private company workers
    • Self-employed in own incorporated business workers
  • Private not-for-profit wage and salary workers
  • Local government workers
  • State government workers
  • Federal government workers
  • Self-employed in own not incorporated business workers
  • Unpaid family workers

In some cross-tabulations, the three classes of government work are collapsed into one. Also, in some cross-tabulations, "Self-employed in own not incorporated business workers" and "unpaid family workers" are combined.

Industry / Occupation / Class of Worker table details

Besides the tables in the '24' series, ACS data about commuting includes tabulations about how people get to work by industry, occupation, and class of worker.

Below is a summary of all the tables that the Census Bureau includes in the "Industry / Occupation / Class of Worker" series. For the following tables, all references to employment are for the civilian population 16 years and older. Median earnings are for the last 12 months in dollars adjusted to the year of the ACS release.

Code subject
B24010†‡ Sex by Occupation
B24011 Occupation by Median Earnings
B24012 Sex by Occupation and Median Earnings
B24020 Sex by Occupation (Full-time, Year-round)
B24021 Occupation by Median Earnings (Full-time, Year-round)
B24022 Sex by Occupation and Median Earnings (Full-time, Year-round)
B24030 Sex by Industry
B24031 Industry by Median Earnings
B24032 Sex by Industry and Median Earnings
B24040 Sex by Industry (Full-time, Year-round)
B24041 Industry by Median Earnings (Full-time, Year-round)
B24042 Sex by Industry and Median Earnings (Full-time, Year-round)
B24050 Industry by Occupation
B24060 Occupation by Class of Worker
B24070 Industry by Class of Worker
B24080 Sex by Class of Worker
B24081 Class of Worker by Median Earnings
B24082 Sex by Class of Worker and Median Earnings
B24090 Sex by Class of Worker (Full-time, Year-round)
B24091 Class of Worker by Median Earnings (Full-time, Year-round)
B24092 Sex by Class of Worker and Median Earnings (Full-time, Year-round)
B24121 Detailed Occupation by Median Earnings (Full-time, Year-round)
B24122 Detailed Occupation by Median Earnings (Full-time, Year-round, Male only)
B24123 Detailed Occupation by Median Earnings (Full-time, Year-round, Female only)
B24124 Detailed Occupation (Full-time, Year-round)
B24125 Detailed Occupation (Full-time, Year-round, Male only)
B24126 Detailed Occupation (Full-time, Year-round, Female only)
Also available in racial iterations.
Table also available in "collapsed" version: change "B" to "C" for table code.
Detailed occupation tables only available at the national level.