Notes on Data Used in Industry Analysis
Census data with poverty rates by industry is available, but is not appropriate for this analysis because of its wide margin of error. Instead, this section uses data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW), which reports average wages by industry. Industries are defined in this data based on a company’s primary activity, rather than workers’ occupations. For instance, the Management of Companies and Enterprises industry is comprised of companies that assist in the management of other organizations. Most workers in this industry are accountants or managers, but the industry also contains janitorial staff employed by these companies.
Average wages in an industry may roughly correspond to the likelihood of workers in that industry being in poverty, and industries with low wages may have higher poverty rates than industries with higher wages. The largest of these low-paying industries may contain the most workers in poverty.
Changes in industry size may also affect poverty rates. Additional jobs should decrease poverty rates, as long as those increases are in higher-wage positions, and jobs in higher-wage industries may have a greater impact than those in lower-wage industries. Job losses should have the opposite effect, but may be more pronounced due to the long-term impacts of job loss, as explained in the main industry page.
As a consequence of using this data, demographic comparisons and comparisons to peer communities could not always be made. Additionally, BLS data counts workers based on the location of their employment rather than their residence; so, out-of-county workers are included in this analysis but not calculations made in other sections of this report.