Taking Census of the Census

On our morning call today, one of our subscribers asked a very interesting question related to the upcoming U.S. census.  The question was as follows:

 

“When do you anticipate Census based hiring to hit the tape..how & when do you look to position ahead of what should be significant additions to payroll numbers?”

 

This was a very astute question as hiring from consensus will potentially eliminate some of the current economic overhang of unemployment.

 

Since 1790, the U.S. government has conducted a national census.  This census is conducted every 10-years, which the United Nations recommends for all nations, and in fact is mandated by the U.S. Constitution.  Interestingly, the term census finds its root from Latin and during the Roman Empire the census was a list that was used to keep track of males fit for military service.  In modern times, the census is used to allow governments, and society in general, to accurately plan for the future.  But taking a census is not without costs.  Some estimates have the cost of a census as much as $3 per enumerated person.

 

According to Wikipedia:

 

“The first U.S. Census was conducted in 1790 by Federal marshals. Census takers went door to door and recorded the name of the head of the household and the number of people in each household. Slaves were enumerated, but only three out of five were counted for apportionment. American Indians, being neither taxed nor considered during apportionment, were not counted in the census. The first census counted 3.9 million people, less than half the population of New York City in 2000; the 2000 census counted over 281 million people. In 1902, Congress established the Census Bureau as a federal agency.”

 

Not surprisingly, along with its becoming a federal agency, the census taking has become a big business.

 

The Commerce Department recently released a study that suggests census taking will add up to 635,000 temporary jobs by May.  In totally, the census bureau will add 1.2 million temporary workers this year with the vast majority, 800,000, coming in April and May.  Obviously given the high rate of unemployment in the U.S. currently, this influx of workers will have a disproportionate impact on the unemployment rate versus prior periods.  In aggregate, the census project, according to the Commerce Department will provide a $14.7 billion dollar boost.

 

Survey says . . .keep your eye on the census as it will be a positive catalyst for unemployment.

 

Daryl Jones

Managing Director


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