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For the decennial census, the Census Bureau will need a large and diverse workforce to follow up by phone or in person with households that do not respond to the questionnaire.
But, the lower the unemployment rate, the harder it can be to recruit.
Before the 2010 Census, unemployment was at its highest levels since the early 1980s. It peaked at 10.0 percent in October 2009 and hovered between 9.3 and 9.8 percent throughout 2010, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Today’s environment is much different, with the unemployment rate down to 4.0 percent as of June 2018.
Before hiring begins, the Census Bureau needs to assemble an applicant pool in the millions. For example, to support the 2010 Census, it recruited approximately 3.9 million job applicants in 2009 and 2010. Not only are fewer people looking for work, but the demographic makeup of the workforce has changed considerably, requiring different recruiting strategies.
The emphasis will be on competitive and attractive pay rates as well as an easy application process. It will take 30 minutes or less to apply online compared to an average two-hour application process in 2010. Job offers will be contingent upon applicants passing a background check (including fingerprinting).