Classification of workers according to the type of ownership of the employing organization. Class of worker is generally tabulated for employed persons 16 years old and over, but it is also obtained for 15-year-olds and persons not currently employed who have worked since 1975, in which case the data refer to the person's most recent employer or business. The determination of class of worker is independent of occupation and industry classifications, but refers to the same job. These data were collected on a sample basis.
Private wage and salary workers
Employees of a private company, business, or individual who work for wages, salary, commissions, tips, or payment in kind. Work for wages or salary from settlement houses, churches, unions, and other nonprofit organizations is also included, as are those self-employed persons whose business is incorporated.
Employee of own corporation
Persons who own all or most of the stock in a privately held corporation and often consider themselves to be self employed. In fact, they are classified as private wage and salary workers.
Persons who work for any governmental unit regardless of the activity of the particular agency. Employees of public schools, government-owned bus lines, government-owned electric power utilities, etc. are included, but employees of private organizations which do contract work for government agencies are not included. Government workers include persons elected to paid offices. Persons on active duty in the Armed Forces are assigned a Federal government class of worker code in the computer editing operation; however, the Bureau's class-of-worker tabulations are limited to civilians. The government workers category is subdivided by the level of government: Federal government workers, State government workers., and local government workers.
In some states, teachers in elementary and secondary schools, who are in fact local government workers, tend to report themselves as State government workers. The result is likely to be an overstatement of the number of State government workers.
Persons who work for profit or fees in their own unincorporated business, profession, or trade, or who operate a farm. Included here are the owner-operators of large stores and manufacturing establishments as well as small merchants, independent craftspersons and professionals, farmers, peddlers, and other persons who conduct enterprises on their own. Persons whose own business is incorporated are counted as employees of their corporation and are tabulated in the "private wage and salary workers" category.
Persons who work without say on a farm or in a business operated by a person to whom they are related by blood or marriage. These are usually the children or the spouse of the owner of a business or farm. About one-half of the unpaid family workers are farm laborers. Unpaid family workers, who reported working fewer than 15 hours during the reference week were not considered to be "at work" in the determination of labor force status.
Class-of-worker data have been collected since 1940. Level of government and "employee of own corporation" were not collected as separate categories before 1970. Since persons who reported being employees of their own corporations were counted in 1970 and 1980 as private wage and salary workers, there is probably an overstatement of the self-employed category in figures for 1940 to 1960. 1970 and 1980 data are comparable.