January 14, 2000

Census Bureau Begins to Recruit Hundreds of Thousands of Workers for Census 2000

The Census Bureau today lunched a nationwide recruiting campaign to find workers to fill thousands of short-term employment slots during Census 2000. To adequately staff the temporary local census offices in every state, a pool of some 3 million applicants will be needed.

"Census 2000 will be the largest peacetime mobilization in our nation's history," said Commerce Secretary William M. Daley in a statement. "Hiring and retaining well-qualified workers will be critical towards achieving a fair and accurate count."

Census Bureau Director Kenneth Prewitt urged everyone interested in a census job to call the agency's toll-free number, 1-888-325-7733.

While acknowledging that attracting qualified candidates will be a challenge in the current labor market, Prewitt noted that Census 2000 jobs are ideal for retirees, students and others seeking part-time work. For the first time, most federal employees will be allowed to work on the census outside their normal work hours. Pay rates range from $8.25 to $18.50 per hour.

People hired will work primarily out of the 520 local census offices across the country. Generally, each of the local census offices will need about 1,000 workers, most of them during a period of four to six weeks. The largest number will be needed beginning in mid-April when census workers visit households that do not return their Census 2000 forms by mail.

During the course of census operations, there will be more than 860,000 employment slots to be filled. Some workers will be hired for one slot, and then rehired later to fill another slot.

"Our goal if to have a pool of local people who are familiar with their communities and committed to a successful count in their own neighborhoods," Prewitt stressed.

Prewitt also underscored the fact that "the stakes are very high in the census" since, in addition to its constitutional purpose of apportioning seats in the U.S. House of Representatives, the census also is used in state legislative redistricting and to help determine the share of federal program funds made available to state, local and tribal governments over the next decade. Data gathered will affect decisions on many matters of local importance, including education, health care, employment, housing, transportation and the environment.

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