I want to analyze the growth and decline of specific industries

including factors such as gender, race, income, state, number of people in each industry etc. But I’m not sure which samples to use. Do I just need the ASEC samples? Or is there a different file I need?

It sounds like you should be able to conduct your analysis with the ASEC samples through IPUMS CPS. You can browse and select samples/variable here. Here is a list of industry variables as well as the demographic variables of interest that you stated: SEX, RACE, INCOME, and STATE.

You could also look into using samples/variables available through IPUMS USA; the sample sizes are a bit larger with the ACS samples in IPUMS USA than in the ASEC samples in IPUMS CPS.

In the event you are new to IPUMS and have not created a data extract before, you may be interested in some of our documentation guides, particularly, our guide for using the IPUMS CPS data extraction system and our guide for opening an extract on your PC. We also have some online tutorials available.