The kind of business or industrial activity in which the person was employed during the reference week or, if not employed, in which the person was most recently employed since 1975. Persons working at more than one job were instructed to describe the one at which they worked the most hours during the reference week. If the employer was engaged in more than one activity, the respondent was instructed to describe only the major activity at the place or facility where the person worked. Industry is most frequently tabulated for employed persons 16 years old and over, less often for the experienced civilian labor force, which includes both employed and experienced unemployed persons 16 years old and over. Industry data were also collected but are not tabulated for persons not currently in the labor force who have worked since 1975. Industry data are collected on a sample basis.
Responses were coded to one of 231 industry categories by specially trained industry and occupation coders in census processing offices.
Most large companies were included on a Company Name List (CNL) developed from the Census Bureau economic censuses. If the company entered in question 28a was found on the CNL, the coder assigned the industry code given by the CNL. If the company could not be found on the CNL, the coder used the industry description on 28b and 28c to determine the industry code. Only the code, i.e., none of the written-in information, is retained on census basic records and public-use microdata. Census industry categories are fully defined in the Classified Index of Industries and Occupations, PHC80-R3. Persons wishing to use the census system in coding other data bases may use the Alphabetical Index of Industries and Occupations, PHC80- R4. Major industry categories and important subdivisions are as follows:
Agriculture, forestry and fisheries
Transportation, communications, and other public utilities
Finance, insurance, and real estate
Business and repair services
Entertainment and recreation services
Professional and related services
Other professional and related services
Relation to Standard Industrial Classification
The Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) system was developed under the sponsorship of the Office of Management and Budget, and subsequently under the Office of Federal Statistical Policy and Standards, and is designed for the classification of establishments by the type of industrial activity in which they are engaged. One of the major purposes of the SIC is to promote uniformity and comparability in the presentation of statistical data collected by various agencies. Accordingly, in the census of population, the industry categories are defined in these terms. However, population census data, which are collected from households, differ in nature and detail from those obtained from business establishments. Therefore, the 1980 census classification system does not reflect the full SIC detail in all categories. However, the census of population is one of the few sources of industrial data that includes all industries.
In addition to such classification differences, census data may differ from other industrial data for the following reasons: the dates to which the data refer may not be the same; workers who live in one geographic area and work in another would be reported at their place of residence by the census but at their place of work in other surveys; and dual jobholders may be counted in the reports of two establishments but counted in the census for only their major job. Many other sources for industrial data cover private employees but exclude self-employed and government workers.
Relation to certain occupation groups
Although some occupation groups are closely related to certain industries, the industry categories are broad and include occupations other than those concentrated in that industry. For example, persons employed in agriculture include truck drivers and bookkeepers in addition to farm workers; persons employed in the transportation industry include mechanics and secretaries in addition to transport operatives; and persons employed in the private household industry include occupations such as chauffeur, gardener, and secretary.
There was no change in wording of the industry question from 1970. A version of this question was asked in 1820 and 1840, and consistently since 1910.
The 1970 industry categories were based on the 1967 Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) system. The 1980 classification reflects some significant changes made in the 1972 SIC manual and some minor technical adjustments made in 1977. One important change was in the census classification of public administration which was subdivided by level of government in the 1970 census, but for 1980 is classified by its primary economic activity. For example, as a result of an SIC change, the 1980 detailed tabulations include such categories as executive and legislative offices; justice, public order, and safety; and public finance, taxation and monetary policy. In 1980 most employees of governmental social service agencies are classified under social services rather than under public administration (although they are still classified as employees of a government under Class of Yorker).
More information on changes in industrial classification will be shown in later 1980 census reports. In the study of earlier data it may also be useful to refer to Technical Paper No. 26: "1970 Occupation and Industry Classification Systems in Terms of Their 1960 Occupation and Industry Elements."
More detailed changes in industrial classification are highlighted in charts in the Standard Industrial Classification Manual, 1972. Reference materials on the relationship of 1970 and 1980 industry classifications are being prepared. For more information, contact Population Division, Bureau of the Census.
See also: "Class of Worker;" "Labor Force Status;" "Occupation".