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February 6th, 2009
11:59 PM ET

Now Hiring: If you’re up for the count

Editor’s Note: Nearly 600,000 Americans lost their jobs last month, driving unemployment to 7.6%. That’s its highest level since 1992. Overall, some 3.6 million jobs have disappeared since 2008. While a lot of companies are issuing pink-slips, a few are hiring. Here’s one place that’s looking for a lot of workers, but act quickly.

Job seekers stand in line at a job fair in Virginia.
Job seekers stand in line at a job fair in Virginia.

Dave Schechter
CNN Senior National Editor

Think of this as an enormous help-wanted ad as the U.S. economy flushes thousands of jobs daily.

Or think of this as a stimulus program, of a sort.

Wanted:

  • 1.4 million people for part-time work April-June 2009 and same in 2010.
  • Must be U.S. citizen, at least 18-years-old, have a valid Social Security# and pass a background check.
  • Must speak English, but other language skills valued.
  • Work 20-40 hours a week. Most of the jobs are outdoors (need automobile).
  • Pay depends where you are, what you do and what experience you have, but range is roughly $8-$26.

In the past, the agency has relied on college students, retirees and stay-at-home moms to fill its ranks, but in the current environment a different mix is possible.

Thousands more people than needed have applied for the 3,000 jobs in Michigan, Ohio and West Virginia; states that have suffered a decline in traditional manufacturing jobs.

While in Colorado Springs, Colorado, the local office manager said, “At $10 an hour, I'm getting a lot of college graduates and [those with] masters degrees.”

The U.S. Constitution mandates a count be made of the nation’s population every decade and it takes a lot of people to count a lot more people.

When the first Census was conducted on August 2, 1790, the population was more than 3.9 million people, including more than 697,000 slaves.

The 2000 Census counted more than 281 million Americans. At this writing the U.S. population is ticking toward 306 million.

This spring Census workers will verify addresses based on the 2000 Census, removing those out of date and adding new ones.

Next year, Census questionnaires will be mailed to those verified addresses.

Census workers will knock on the doors of residences that don’t mail back the questionnaire.

Why is this important?

Start with the $300 billion from taxpayers that is allocated to the states by formulas pegged to Census results.

Then consider that the Census also determines which states will gain or lose seats in Congress (translation: power and influence).

Census Bureau spokeswoman Shelly Lowe says that three-quarters of the agency’s 12 regions are on target to receive the number of applications they need before hiring.

The current economy has expanded the pool of potential applicants.

"The economy is a bad thing, there's no question about that," Census office manager George Gutierrez told the Colorado Springs Independent. "But for us, it's a blessing, kind of," a hesitant sentiment echoed from Census offices around the country.


Filed under: David Schechter • Unemployment
soundoff (20 Responses)
  1. margaret

    Hey, I just saw somebody who was awaiting moderation. Does that mean people are actually reading my comments before they get deleted? This census is a great thing. But people, please do a good job? I have ancestors whose census takers had illegible handwriting. And they gave the nicknames instead of their real names. They also got the name of the town mixed up with the township. Do they still ask what countries your parents were born in? Wish they could have included more detail. But on the other hand, we don't want to encourage BIg Brother. We've got enough Big Brother already.

    February 8, 2009 at 5:43 pm |
  2. Larry L.

    If you are not terrified by this you either don't understand or know what is going on,a one party system is in the making,next agenda socialism.

    February 8, 2009 at 1:53 pm |
  3. Derrick

    The South Carolina Govenor had an interview on Saturday and said that the people of his state don't want this bailout. Where did he get that from, I haven't heard anything from him other than trying to fire the unemployment board and stop unemployment. I want something to be done so I can support my family. Oh yeah he makes over 150,000 a year so it doesn't matter to him.

    February 8, 2009 at 11:16 am |
  4. J.V.Hodgson

    We had all better hope they can confernce this on Monday and put it to a successful vote on Tuesday. The time has definitely come to ACT and stop talking relatively speaking of shoes and ships and sealing wax and many things.
    It may not be perfect, but it will help. Action now even if imperfect is better than nothing, and for sure it better be different than 8 Years of Republican ideology which failed, and they still push the same ole, same ole, ideology .
    If it were not so serious it would be a joke what Republicans are doing at present, even though I think some of thier pressures were reasonable. They have done thier job. Now vote it in overwhelmingly!!
    We all need change not old style Republican ideology.
    Regards,
    Hodgson.

    February 8, 2009 at 2:01 am |
  5. Dulcie - Denver

    I was an enumerator for the 1990 census and it's really a pretty good job. I was between normal jobs and collecting food stamps at the time. The ad was posted at the food stamp office.

    I met some great people doing the census.

    February 7, 2009 at 11:35 pm |
  6. Chuck

    How is this creating a job I can depend on long term????

    February 7, 2009 at 5:27 pm |
  7. Jan Fulton MS

    Some areas like Jacksonville Florida have so many applications that they aren't letting people sign up to take the test anymore. My son called and checked into it and was told to keep checking the web site for a time when they might take more people to test, but really is was unlikely they would take more applications. Could you check into this?
    Thanks Jan Fulton MS

    February 7, 2009 at 3:33 am |
  8. Christine

    It's sad, because there's a wealth of knowledge in this country, with so many people with bachelors and masters degrees, that could contribute so much to this nation, yet there's no jobs which take full advantage of the knowledge they have. Everything's been outsourced to the lowest bidder.

    February 7, 2009 at 3:29 am |
  9. Ray t

    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    I know president Obama means well. everyone in congress and in senate is trying. One part of the economic stimulus package is missing. There should be parts added. What about investing billions into creating more industrial jobs, manufacturing, distribution. Too many jobs are over seas. We need to quit shipping jobs out and rebuild them here. There are enough abandoned factories and buildings to start something here. Too much money is being invested into road care. This country needs jobs. Not roads. What good is an education if you cant find a job. All of the jobs that were here are now gone. It may have been cheaper to ship out our jobs and industries, but that was then. The effect has taken place. A long term effect wasnt thought of then. Now this country suffers. Sub- contracting companies are removing state and union workers and paying them cheaper with no benefits, i could go on and on. What about jobs? What about building them? Stimulate the economy might work, but unless there are jobs created. It will only be temporary.

    February 7, 2009 at 1:36 am |
  10. Katharine Layton

    I was alarmed to see money for the 2010 Census on the long list of proposed cuts to the stimulus package...it is my only hope for employment at this time. Is the Census fully funded?

    February 6, 2009 at 11:41 pm |
  11. Joan

    I'll be loosing my temporary job next week after two months I could use a bail out. Let's see our elected officals work at $13 an hour and support themselves on it with no insurance or housing assistance or perks.

    February 6, 2009 at 11:21 pm |
  12. Helen

    The republicans keep saying they want to lower taxes...well if we do not have jobs there will be no taxes to lower...hello? We are tired of hearing about how lowering taxes will stimulate the economy we have heard that for the last eight years and that has not worked. I don't make a lot of money but I don't mind paying taxes for decent roads, bridges and health care for all. I am so tired of hearing lower the taxes let them find some solutions to job losses and health care and our infrastructure....I think the republicans have finally lost the people to what they are all about. they are totally for the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer...after the last eight years we have finally learned that...it is time to give Obama the chance to try to fix the mess Bush left him. People open your eyes!

    February 6, 2009 at 11:17 pm |
  13. sara

    the bank payout its terrible they used our money toget these jets, parties and no one on top is going to jail for it. why is that?

    February 6, 2009 at 10:34 pm |
  14. sara

    i'm a single mother of 2, one is in college the other going to high school.why can't i see this bill before its past cause i'm sorry the sentor repesenting me is not a single mom and .for what your telling me i'm going to compete with my son's for a job.we need more training programs to up grade our skills and back to school to deal with getting degrees that these kids have now.

    February 6, 2009 at 10:29 pm |
  15. Kurt Esser

    FYI – I have tested for this job twice, sent my resume and application via fax, and no response from the Census Bureau. It is a shame. Matter of Fact.....I cannot beleive I wasted my time writing this e-mail. I am such an idiot but consider myself Middle Class America. Cheers.

    February 6, 2009 at 10:21 pm |
  16. Joette

    How about we fire all the Senators and House Reps. Let them go look for a middle class job. Good Luck Elected Officials, you don't think that the American people aren't engaged. Well we are and we are watching and listening very carefully.

    February 6, 2009 at 9:01 pm |
  17. Isabel Abreu, Brazil

    Is disappointing to see a professional diploma, postgraduate, master, and other courses, fighting for a job, often fall short of their knowledge.

    With census, we know more details, such as the number of inhabitants, the number of men, women, children and elderly, where and how people live and work, among other things.

    According to the definition of the UN, 'a census of population can be defined as all the operations that are to collect, combine and publish demographic data, economic and social for a given moment or in certain periods, to all inhabitants of a country or territory'.

    This moment so tense, and with the present so different from the past, it's important that the US know the detailed characteristics of the population. I believe this may help in decision-making of leading the country.

    February 6, 2009 at 8:48 pm |
  18. Alice

    hi !about that lady who had eight babies. Don't u think this has to do with the economic hardship, maybe she wanted financial assistance. So many of my friends recently had babies to get financial assistance ..so many women do that, it is normal . ..
    it is so hard now a days to stick in a job if you are not married or already have kids. it seems this must be one of the qualifications to be put on a Resume to get respect from the employers and employees.

    February 6, 2009 at 8:37 pm |
  19. Luis

    I think the CENSUS data gathering is the only law our government really follows.

    February 6, 2009 at 8:30 pm |
  20. Annie Kate

    The census is a great tool for family historians to learn about their ancestors and where they were at 10 year intervals. So I encourage people to fill out their census – you never know you might have a descendant one day who is looking for you on the census so they will know more about the people that came before them. The census jobs may be life savers for those who apply. That's a lot of short term jobs – and right now short term is better than no term.

    February 6, 2009 at 8:05 pm |