Low Unemployment Challenges Census Bureau’s Hiring Effort

Published: Monday, September 3, 2018 - 4:36pm

The 2020 Census is more than a year away, but the federal agency is already working on ways to hire 500,000 census takers nationwide, including an estimated 10,000 in Arizona.

During the 2010 Census, the nation’s unemployment rate hovered around ten percent. Today, it’s closer to 4 percent.

“We’re very aware of the challenge with the low unemployment rate,” said Tim Olson, associate director for field operations. “And our strategy is we will be doing advertising locally and nationally for the jobs.”

They are temporary jobs as census takers. Workers will visit households that did not respond to the census and conduct interviews, which Olson said take about ten minutes each.

“They’re trained to reach out, find the address, find a good time when the householder is present and conduct an interview,” he said. “We’re looking for people who can work 20-25 hours a week, different times off the day, evening.”

Olson said they are in the process of hiring about 1,500 outreach workers across the country to connect with tribes, local governments and community groups to help spread the word.

The first 2020 Census office in metro Phoenix will open early next year. Olson said there will be a total of three offices in Maricopa County and one each in Tucson, Flagstaff and Window Rock.

Recruitment for census takers should begin in October 2019 with hiring in March. The work will take place between April and late June or early July. Depending on their locations, Olson said census takers in Arizona will be paid between $14.50 and $19.50 per hour.

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