There was recently some news about unemployment numbers that looked good at first glance. 430k new jobs! Woohoo! This qualifies for good news these days! Then, of course, we find out that 410k of those jobs are temporary Census Bureau positions like the one that I hold. But that’s still a lot of jobs and maybe we shouldn’t be so picky!! They’re being put to work doing something important!! But maybe not:

The inspector general’s memo said that the Census Bureau had “overestimated” the staff needed for the program to enumerate people at transitory locations. “During the ETL operation,” said the memo, “crew leaders overestimated the number of Census staff needed to enumerate transitory locations, thus increasing the cost of operations.”

The memo also said that there were so many people hired for the “service-based enumeration” that there turned out to be one Census enumerator for every seven homeless people counted, and that the inspector general’s office “observed significant periods of enumerator inactivity at certain locations.”

Okay, well at least people are getting paid just a little to take on a fraction of a job. That’s not all bad, right?

Then you start hearing that even that is skewed because the Census is hiring people just to lay them off and in some cases rehire them.

As you all know, I work for the Census Bureau as a courier. My job is to drive in a big loop of 150 miles or so. I can’t complain about how much I am being paid to do so. Beats sitting around the house for free. I’ve driven my route maybe two dozen times. Want to know how many times I actually delivered something? Well, 20 or so of that 24 times. Okay, want to know how many times I delivered (or received) something other than my pay sheet from the previous day? Two. And in one of those two cases, it turned out that the person I was supposed to deliver them to quit and so it went straight back to Alexandria.

So in essence, I have been getting paid to deliver my own pay sheets. I figure it to be a part of that front-loading that the article above mentioned. I also thought that, “Well, if they’re willing to pay me to do this, business is surely going to pick up at some point, right?” Eventually I resigned myself to “Well, I could quit, but they’d just hire somebody else to do it.”

I’ve also heard rumors of cases as is being discussed here. Specifically, they separate out the census-taking in waves. So the same person gets laid off after one wave and then replaced by a newhire a week later. Makes the job numbers look good at any rate.

Category: Office, Road

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4 Responses to The Skewing Census

  1. john says:

    As an Enumerator, I fucking hate you. I have to deal with random subhumans who failed to return the Census, and all you have to do is transport documents.

  2. stone says:

    Will, I wonder what they were thinking you were going to deliver?!

  3. trumwill says:

    John, I actually applied for your job. I’m not sure exactly how I got picked to be a courier instead. No complaints!

    Sheila, not sure. The early route does actually deliver some stuff. Forms, I think.

  4. chic noir says:

    Are you spending the money you’re making as a courier? If so, then you are helping the economy.

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