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February 2000, Vol. 123, No. 2
Counting the counters: effects of Census 2000 on employmentLaura A. Kelter
Once every 10 years, the U.S. Bureau of the Census undertakes the constitutionally mandated Census of Population and Housing for apportioning of the House of Representatives. This decennial census is designed to collect demographic data about all persons living in the United States, Puerto Rico and the island areas.1 In addition to Congressional redistricting, census figures are used for redistricting State legislatures and for distributing Federal funds for schools, housing assistance, highway construction, and programs for the elderly.2 Because of its magnitude, the decennial census requires years of planning and thousands of employees to accomplish. For this reason, employment levels in the Bureau of Labor Statistics Current Employment Statistics (CES) survey, particularly in certain industries, are affectedóboth in the actual year in which the census is conducted and, to a lesser degree, up to 21 months prior to the census. Hiring for the census is reflected in data for Federal Government, except Postal Service, as well as in the aggregate, total nonfarm employment.3 Detailing the amount of census effect within the CES data is essential to understanding the underlying employment trends in the affected industries.
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1 The island areas include the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, American Samoa, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
2 See Census 2000 Home Page, on the Internet at http://www.census.gov/main/www/cen2000.html, accessed February 2000. The Census 2000 Home Page is part of the official Bureau of the Census website at http://www.census.gov.
3 For the purpose of this article, the series, "Federal Government, excluding Postal Service," is used for Federal workers. Universe counts for Federal workers are provided to the CES survey by the United States Office of Personnel Management, Office of Workforce Information. The data reflect the number of temporary decennial census workers receiving at least one paycheck during the reference month.
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