We ask questions about a person's employer, the kind of business or industry of that employer, the kind of work a person does, and that person's most important activities to produce industry, occupation, and class of worker statistics.
These data help provide information about the labor force in government programs; evaluate government programs and policies to ensure they fairly and equitably serve the needs of all groups; and enforce laws, regulations, and policies against discrimination in society.
We use your confidential survey answers to create statistics like those in the results below and in the full tables that contain all the data—no one is able to figure out your survey answers from the statistics we produce. The Census Bureau is legally bound to strict confidentiality requirements. Individual records are not shared with anyone, including federal agencies and law enforcement entities. By law, the Census Bureau cannot share respondents' answers with anyone—not the IRS, not the FBI, not the CIA, and not with any other government agency.
We ask six questions about a person's occupation, industry, and employer to create a profile of the nation's labor force.
We compile the results from these questions to provide communities with important statistics to understand the labor force and ensure equal opportunity. You can see some of these published statistics here for the nation, states, and your community.
Employers, federal agencies, and federal government contractors are interested in knowing whether programs designed to employ specific groups, such as people with disabilities or veterans, are succeeding (Vietnam Era Veterans' Readjustment Assistance Act, Rehabilitation Act of 1973). Industry, occupation, and class of worker data provide additional detail about the jobs and careers pursued by people participating in these programs.
State and local agencies use these statistics to:
We want to know more about people who are employed or looking for work in combination with educational attainment, age, gender, race, Hispanic origin, disability status, veteran status, and other data, to help governments and communities enforce civil rights laws against employment discrimination (Civil Rights Act of 1964). For example, these data help enforce nondiscrimination in employment by federal agencies, private employers, employment agencies, and labor organizations.
Information on growing or declining industries and occupations help estimate changes in the economy. Labor force estimates are used in funding decisions; to ensure surveys are accurate, including surveys that provide official labor market estimates; and to understand changes in other data (Wagner-Peyser Act and Workforce Investment Act).
The National Institute of Food and Agriculture use class of worker data to understand changes in farm workers and agriculture.
Industry questions originated with the 1820 Census, occupation questions originated with the 1850 Census, and class of worker questions originated with the 1910 Census. They were transferred to the ACS in 2005 when it replaced the decennial census long form.
In 2019, modifications were made to the questions about the industry, occupation, and class of worker questions. Research about this modification for the industry, occupation, and class of worker questions and copies of previous questionnaires are available on the ACS website.