Posted by: Josh Lehner | June 23, 2010

Census Employment in Oregon

As the 2010 Census begins to wind down and the temporary employment positions are eliminated, it will be important to identify the effect these positions have on the monthly employment reports. The key figure for employment will be the total number of jobs created (or lost) each month, net the Census worker changes. This will give the underlying trend in the economy as the Census employment numbers distort this trend.

Calculated Risk estimates that the elimination of a portion of the Census workers nationwide will decrease the headline employment figure for June by 243,000. As noted previously, Census employment decreased by slightly more than 2,000 in June 2000 during the previous Census and expectations are for a similar number this year.

Taking a look at the weekly Census employment numbers yields a similar figure (see table below). The numbers in the table are the total number of Census workers in the Seattle Region as reported on the previous website. (Note: the BLS employment survey occurs during the week of each month that contains the 12th day of the month) The Reported Census Workers data comes from the Oregon Employment Deparment‘s monthly employment report and then Oregon’s share of the regional figure is calculated in the fourth column. Oregon’s share has been approximately 16 percent of the regional number, but ranges from 15.2 percent to 16.6 percent. The other calculations are based on these minimum and maximum percentages to arrive at an estimated range of 2,076 to 2,438 Census positions eliminated in June. Essentially, this means that the private sector needs to increase employment in June by 2,000 to 2,500 for the total number of jobs to remain unchanged in Oregon between May and June. If private sector employment increases by less than this amount, then the headline employment number for June will be negative.

While there is expected to be a large decline in Census employment in June, the remainder of the Census related jobs, roughly 4,000, will be eliminated over the course of the rest of the year.

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