National Parks and the Economy of Their “Gateway Towns”

Written by Robert Bernstein, Economy-Wide Statistics Division

Nowhere is our nation’s natural beauty on more vivid display than in its more than 400 national parks. Maintained by the National Park Service for exactly one century this summer, these venues have long been popular destinations for summer vacations and weekend getaways.

The term “National Park” immediately conjures up images of some of their most famous landmarks, such as “Old Faithful” in Yellowstone, “Half Dome” in Yosemite and the waves crashing into the rocky shores of Acadia, but national parks also include places where American history was written and that preserve the unique culture of our nation. For many visitors, their first stops are the “gateway communities” that serve national parks. Located not far from the parks’ entrances, these towns are critical to tourists for lodging, food and “gassing up.”

Tourism related industries including hotels (except casino hotels) and motels; full-service (sit-down) restaurants; limited-service (fast food) restaurants; gasoline stations; amusement, gambling, and recreation; gift, novelty, and souvenir stores; and RV parks and campgrounds accounted for more than 10 percent of all U.S. establishments and employed 12.4 million people in 2012. In honor of the National Park Service’s centennial, we’re taking a closer look at three gateway communities surrounding the national parks, including which industries are most prevalent, by examining data from the Census Bureau’s 2012 Economic Census.

National Parks Graph

Pigeon Forge, Tennessee

Pigeon Forge, Tenn., located a few miles from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park (the nation’s most visited park, according to the National Park Service), provides an example of the importance of these industries to these towns. Sales there totaled:

  • $135.2 million for hotels and motels (NAICS 721110).
  • $27.2 million for gasoline stations (NAICS 4471).
  • $90.5 million for full-service (sit-down) restaurants (NAICS 722511) and $26.4 million for limited-service (fast food) restaurants (NAICS 722513).

Sales for these four industries combined topped $279.0 million. Three of these industries are in the accommodations and food services sector and account for 84.9 percent ($252.1 million) of the sector’s total revenues of $296.9 million. The only other sectors in town with revenues anywhere close are retail trade (which includes gasoline stations) at $241.1 million, and arts, entertainment and recreation, at $230.7 million. The latter sector includes another tourism-related subsector: amusement, gambling, and recreation (NAICS 713). If you throw in its revenues of $154.1 million; $27.0 million from gift, novelty and souvenir stores (NAICS 453220); and $5.7 million generated by RV parks and campgrounds (NAICS 721211), tourism-related sales and revenues exceeded $466.0 million in Pigeon Forge.

The town of 5,984 people (according to 2012 population estimates) contained 84 hotels and motels and 41 full-service restaurants, or one hotel and motel for every 71 residents and one full-service restaurant for every 146 people. These seven tourist-related industries combined account for 44.7 percent of the town’s business establishments and employ 5,999 people (higher than the population, including children).

Estes Park, Colorado

Moving west, Estes Park, Colo., is just outside Rocky Mountain National Park, the fifth most visited park according to the National Park Service. Sales there totaled:

  • $45.1 million for hotels and motels,
  • $21.7 million for full-service (sit-down)  restaurants and $8.3 million for limited-service (fast food) restaurants, and
  • $11.1 million for gasoline stations

Combined, these four industries totaled $86.2 million in sales/revenues. Three of these industries are in the accommodations and food service sector and account for 81.5 percent ($75.1 million) of the sector’s total of $92.2 million. Only the retail trade sector, which includes gasoline stations, had higher sales/revenues among sectors.

This town of 6,027 people (according to 2012 population estimates) was home to 39 hotels and motels and 38 full-service restaurants, or roughly one each for every 150 residents. The four industries — hotels and motels, sit-down restaurants, fast-food restaurants and gas stations — employed 1,059 people. If you add gift, novelty, and souvenir stores, they accounted for over one-quarter (127 or 30.2 percent) of the town’s business establishments.

Jackson, Wyoming

Our final stop takes us to Jackson, Wyo., five miles from the Grand Teton National Park, the nation’s eighth most visited park according to the National Park Service, where sales for hotels and motels, full-service restaurants, gasoline stations and limited-service restaurants totaled:

  • $82.0 million for hotels and motels,
  • $55.0 million for full-service (sit down) restaurants and $18.0 million for limited-service (fast food) restaurants, and
  • $51.5 million for gasoline stations

These industries totaled more than $206.0 million combined. This exceeded revenues for each of the following sectors: health care and social assistance ($154.1 million); professional, scientific and technical services ($104.7 million); real estate and rental and leasing ($73.4 million); wholesale trade ($43.1 million); and manufacturing ($20.8 million).

As you observe the natural beauty of our country’s parks this summer, consider the economic census statistics that give us insight into the communities surrounding them.

Happy 100th birthday, National Park Service!

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The Increasing Complexity of IT Occupations

By Julia Beckhusen

Computers are all around us — from desktops at work and home to smartphones everywhere in between. In fact, about 4 in 5 households own some type of computer. America’s use of technology relies on a large workforce to maintain networks, develop hardware and software, and provide support. In 2014, 4.6 million people worked in information technology (IT).

A new report released today by the U.S. Census Bureau explores trends in IT occupations since 1970 as well as characteristics of the IT workforce. Moreover, it explains how the Census Bureau tracks growing and evolving occupations over time.

The number of IT workers increased tenfold between 1970, when the Census Bureau first recognized IT occupations, and today. When scientists and engineers developed computers, their work was classified into three categories: programming, analyzing and everything else. Other workers performed job activities, which today would be classified as IT occupations. As computers emerged from room-sized machines to personal workstations connected to the internet, the type of IT work diversified. Thus, the classifications for IT occupations needed more detail to categorize the work adequately, and the number of IT occupations expanded to account for the changes.

The figure below illustrates the growth and increasing complexity of IT occupations. Between 1970 and now, the Census Bureau increased the number of IT occupation classifications from three to 12. The largest expansion came during the technology boom in the 1990s when the number of IT workers more than doubled from 1.5 million to 3.4 million. Some of the occupations “born” from the expansion included computer support specialists, computer software engineers, and network systems and data communications analysts.

It

After the steep rise at the end of the 20th century, the demand for IT workers slowed down compared with the previous decade. However, the number of distinct occupations continued to grow. By 2010, the Census Bureau added four more IT occupations.

The report released today describes the growth and occupational diversity of the information technology workforce in the United States. In addition, the report provides a description of demographic and employment characteristics of IT workers in 2014 using statistics from the American Community Survey.

 

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Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander-Owned Businesses Grow Faster Than Firms Owned by Other Race Groups

Written by: Robert Bernstein, Economy-Wide Statistics Division

Although the number of businesses owned by Native Hawaiians and Other Pacific Islanders remains small relative to the numbers owned by other minority groups, their rate of growth in recent years certainly stands out.

There were 54,749 Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander-owned businesses across the country in 2012, up 45.3 percent from 37,687 in 2007. This rate of increase topped all race groups (except “some other race”) and far exceeds the rate for all U.S. firms (2.0 percent).

NHOPI

Receipts climbed 28.8 percent from $6.3 billion to $8.1 billion over the period, compared with 11.7 percent for all firms. The number of Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander-owned firms topping $1 million in receipts reached 1,066 in 2012.

Furthermore, Native Hawaiians accounted for 25,774, or 47.1 percent of the race group’s firms and $4.5 billion in receipts, or 55.6 percent.

These statistics come from the Survey of Business Owners, which provides a broad socioeconomic picture of business owners across the nation and is part of the U.S. Census Bureau’s five-year economic census. Data are provided not only for this race group as a whole, but also separately for specific subgroups, including Native Hawaiian, Guamanian or Chamorro, Samoan and other Pacific Islander (for example, Fijian or Tongan).

Over half of Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander-owned businesses in 2012 (28,983, or 52.9 percent) were in Hawaii or California. However, the three states rounding out the top five in the number of such businesses were far from the Pacific coast: Florida, New York and Texas. While Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander-owned firms represented 0.2 percent of all businesses nationally, they comprised 12.3 percent in Hawaii.

Among the 50 most populous metro areas, Los Angeles, Calif, led with 5,023 Native Hawaiian- and Other Pacific Islander-owned businesses. New York was second with 3,328 and San Francisco-Oakland third with 2,812. Additionally, among the 50 most populous counties, Honolulu, Hawaii, was tops with 8,487 Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander-owned businesses. Although most of the metro areas with the highest number of these businesses were found along or near the Pacific coast, some rather far-flung areas had appreciable numbers too. Some selected metro areas include Austin, Texas (with 227); Boston, Mass. (267); Cincinnati, Ohio (161); Miami, Fla. (1,401); Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minn. (301); Oklahoma City, Okla. (104), Raleigh, N.C. (116); Salt Lake City, Utah (678); and Washington, D.C. (694).   Additionally, New York City, N.Y., had more Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander-owned firms than any of the other 50 most populous cities: 2,092, with another 1,236 firms elsewhere in the metro area.

Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander-owned firms were most commonly found in the Other Services sector (8,674). This sector includes such disparate industries as general automotive repair, beauty salons, funeral homes and funeral services, civic and social organizations and business associations.

Fewer than half of all Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander-owned firms were women-owned (45.6 percent) in 2012.

This is just a small snapshot of data available from the Survey of Business Owners. These same data are available at the more specific industry level (down to the six-digit NAICS), and are broken out by employer and nonemployer firms and include additional variables such as size of firms by receipts and employment levels. Drawing on a sample of 1.75 million employer and nonemployer businesses, the Survey of Business Owners publishes data on the number of firms, receipts, payroll and employment, as well as the gender, ethnicity, race and veteran status of firm owners. Geographic detail, down to the economic place, is also available. This survey is the most comprehensive source of economic data on businesses by demographic characteristics of the owners.

Revisit this page for additional blogs about these data!

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American Indian and Alaska Native-Owned Businesses Move Past the Quarter-Million Mark

Written by: Robert Bernstein, Economy-Wide Statistics Division

The number of American Indian and Alaska Native-owned businesses in the U.S. climbed by 36,228, or 15.3 percent, between 2007 and 2012, reaching 272,919. In Oklahoma, which ranked second among states with 27,450 American Indian and Alaska Native-owned businesses in 2012, the number of these businesses increased by 6,238 over the period, or 29.4 percent. As the “Sooner State” was experiencing an increase, first-place California (with 41,254 American Indian- and Alaska Native-owned firms) experienced a decrease of more than 4,000 (4,315 to be precise ─ a 9.5 percent drop), closing the gap between the states. These statistics come from the Survey of Business Owners, which provides a broad socioeconomic picture of business owners across the nation and is part of the U.S. Census Bureau’s five-year economic census.

AIAN

Receipts for American Indian and Alaska Native-owned businesses totaled $38.8 billion in 2012. Roughly 5,000 (4,992) of these firms had receipts of $1 million or more. For American Indian and Alaska Native-owned firms, the rate of increase in the number of businesses (15.3 percent) topped the corresponding increase for all U.S. firms (2.0 percent).

Nationally, 1.0 percent of all firms were American Indian and Alaska Native-owned. There were several states, however, in which the percentage was more than double that: Alaska (11.0 percent), Oklahoma (8.4 percent), New Mexico (5.8 percent), Montana (2.7 percent), South Dakota (2.5 percent), Arizona (2.2 percent) and North Dakota (2.2 percent).

Returning to Oklahoma, American Indian and Alaska Native-owned firms comprised 5.4 percent of all businesses in the Oklahoma City metro area. Among the top 50 places (by population) Tulsa led with 6.6 percent, and Oklahoma City was second with 4.9 percent. Staying in Oklahoma, here are the proportions of businesses that were American Indian- and Alaska Native-owned in selected counties around the state: 37.1 percent in Adair, 32.2 percent in Cherokee, 19.7 percent in Choctaw, 5.0 percent in Oklahoma and 7.2 percent in Tulsa. In selected counties or equivalents elsewhere in the country, the proportion of firms that were American Indian- and Alaska Native-owned were 70.0 percent in the Aleutians East Borough, 68.1 percent in the Dillingham Census Area and 89.1 percent in the Wade Hampton Census Area (each in Alaska), and 52.8 percent in Apache, Ariz., home to the capital of the Navajo Nation.

Michigan and Rhode Island were the only two states in which both total population declined (according to population estimates) and the number of American Indian- and Alaska Native-owned businesses rose. Michigan’s total population declined by more than 100,000 people between 2007 and 2012 to 9.9 million, yet the state added 2,205 American Indian and Alaska Native-owned businesses to increase to 8,284 American Indian and Alaska Native-owned firms in 2012.

Among the 8,284 American Indian and Alaska Native-owned firms in Michigan, the largest sectors by number of firms included administrative and support and waste management and remediation services (899), construction (1,036), health care and social assistance (1,051) and other services (1,737).

In Rhode Island, total population declined by 4,922 to 1.1 million, while the number of American Indian- and Alaska Native-owned firms rose by 278 to increase to 673 in 2012.

The sectors in which American Indian and Alaska Native-owned firms were most commonly found nationally span the economy: other services (43,573 firms); construction (35,969); and professional, scientific, and technical services (30,966). In addition, about half (48.0 percent) of these firms were owned by women in 2012, up from 40.8 percent in 2007.

This is just a small snapshot of data available from the Survey of Business Owners. These same data are available at the more specific industry level (down to the six-digit NAICS), and are broken out by employer and nonemployer firms and include additional variables such as size of firms by receipts and employment levels. Drawing on a sample of 1.75 million employer and nonemployer businesses, the Survey of Business Owners publishes data on the number of firms, receipts, payroll and employment, as well as the gender, ethnicity, race and veteran status of firm owners. Geographic detail, down to the economic place, is also available. This survey is the most comprehensive source of economic data on businesses by demographic characteristics of the owners.

Revisit this page for additional blogs about these data!

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Asian-Owned Businesses Nearing Two Million

By: Mary Frauenfelder

Between 2007 and 2012, the number of U.S. businesses owned by Asian-Americans rose 23.8 percent, from 1.5 million to 1.9 million.

In contrast, the total number of all U.S. firms increased only 2.0 percent during the same period, from 27.1 million to 27.6 million. As a result, 6.9 percent of all businesses were Asian-owned in 2012, up from 5.7 percent five years earlier. Asian business ownership is defined as having persons of Asian Indian, Chinese, Filipino, Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese or other Asian origin (such as Hmong, Laotian, Thai, Pakistani or Cambodian) owning 51.0 percent or more of the stock or equity in a nonfarm business operating in the United States. According to U.S. Census Bureau population estimates, Asians accounted for 5.8 percent of the 18 or older population in 2012. Censuses and surveys permit respondents to select more than one race; the 5.8 percent figure pertains to those who said they were either Asian only or Asian in combination with one or more other races.

Asian 1

The rate of increase in receipts for Asian-owned firms also outpaced that of all firms. Asian-owned firms totaled $699.5 billion in receipts in 2012, an increase of 38.2 percent from $506.0 billion in 2007. In contrast, receipts for all firms grew 11.7 percent during the same period, from $30.0 trillion in 2007 to $33.5 trillion in 2012.

These statistics come from the 2012 Survey of Business Owners, which provides a broad socio-economic picture of business owners across the nation. The Survey of Business Owners is part of the Census Bureau’s five‑year economic census, conducted in years ending in two and seven.

The Survey of Business Owners not only identifies the race of business owners, but also their nationality, or Asian group. Each specific Asian group saw the rate of increase between 2007 and 2012 in the number of firms they owned outpace the national average: Asian Indians (up 22.4 percent), Chinese (up 24.8 percent), Filipinos (up 18.5 percent), Japanese (up 10.0 percent), Koreans (up 16.8 percent), Vietnamese (up 35.7 percent) and other Asians (up 34.3 percent). Asian Indians owned 377,486 firms (19.7 percent of all Asian-owned firms) and had receipts of $227.1 billion (32.5 percent of all Asian-owned firm receipts). Chinese owned 528,702 firms (27.6 percent) and had receipts of $210.1 billion (30.0 percent). Filipinos owned 193,336 firms (10.1 percent), with receipts of $25.8 billion (3.7 percent). Japanese owned 119,163 firms (6.2 percent), with receipts of $44.2 billion (6.3 percent). Koreans owned 224,891 firms (11.7 percent), with receipts of $107.8 billion (15.4 percent). Vietnamese owned 310,864 firms (16.2 percent), with receipts of $34.6 billion (5.0 percent). Other Asians owned 194,061 firms (10.1 percent), with receipts of $50.2 billion (7.2 percent).

Over half (52.0 percent) of Asian-owned businesses were male-owned (996,606 out of 1,917,902) in 2012. However, there were a couple of Asian subgroups (based on nationality) in which the numbers of male- and female-owned businesses were roughly equal. Women-owned businesses accounted for about half (51.1 percent) of both Filipino- and Vietnamese-owned businesses (with 98,849 out of 193,336 Filipino-owned businesses and 158,958 out of 310,864 Vietnamese-owned businesses).

California was home to more Asian-owned businesses than any other state in 2012 with 604,870, followed by New York (243,105) and Texas (155,784). Asian-owned firms comprised 62.6 percent of all firms in Honolulu County, Hawaii, which had the highest proportion of Asian-owned businesses among the 50 most populous counties in 2012 — Queens, N.Y., and Santa Clara, Calif., followed, at 34.5 percent and 34.4 percent, respectively. Also in 2012, San Jose, Calif., ranked first among the 50 most populous cities in the proportion of Asian-owned businesses, as they comprised 37.3 percent of all businesses (29,023 out of 77,832 businesses).

Asian-owned businesses comprised roughly 1 in 5, or 18.7 percent (156,391 out of 834,182) of firms in the accommodations and food services sector (NAICS 72). They also accounted for around 10.0 percent of all firms in two other sectors: other services (NAICS 81), with 10.6 percent (or 385,583 out of 3.6 million firms) and wholesale trade (NAICS 42), with 9.5 percent (67,062 out of 703,666). The majority of Asian-owned businesses in the other services sector (212,238 out of 385,583) were in the hair, nail and skin care services industry.

This is just a small snapshot of data available from the Survey of Business Owners. These same data are available at the more specific industry level (down to the six-digit NAICS), broken out by employer and nonemployer firms, and include additional variables, such as size of firms by receipts and employment levels. Drawing on a sample of 1.75 million employer and nonemployer businesses, the Survey of Business Owners publishes data on the number of firms, receipts, payroll and employment, as well as the gender, ethnicity, race and veteran status of the firm owners. Geographic detail, down to the economic place, is also available. This survey is the most comprehensive source of economic data on businesses by the demographic characteristics of the owners.

Come back to Random Samplings for additional blogs about these data.

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