My Two Census

Formerly the non-partisan watchdog of the 2010 US Census, and currently an opinion blog that covers all things political, media, foreign policy, globalization, and culture…but sometimes returning to its census/demographics roots.

Census Bureau Director Robert M. Groves says that operations are winding down; Mass #layoffs ahead at the #2010 #Census

We knew this day would come. Yesterday, Robert M. Groves tweeted and blogged that 2010 Census operations are winding down.

Groves wrote, “As of Sunday, we have completed and checked-in about 44 million enumerator forms for this operation of the approximately 47 million; we’re at about 93% complete in this operation. We are somewhat ahead of schedule and certainly under-budget.”

My first (snarky) comment is that its not hard to be under-budget when you are given a $15 billion blank check that is more than triple what your predecessors had to work with in 2000.

My second, realistic comment, is that there are still 3 million households that have not been counted. With the end of operations looming near, this invites fraud on many levels, as individuals will likely be pressured by their higher-ups, all the way through the chain of command back to Census Bureau Headquarters in Suitland, Maryland to get forms completed come hell or high water.

Subtly, Dr. Groves also warned of mass layoffs in the coming days. He wrote;

However, for many we will have to say our goodbyes. It is to them that this entry is dedicated –

You were among the best labor force for a decennial census in decades; you brought to the census family the strongest set of skills and intelligence, the best work experience, incredible flexibility, and a strong devotion to serving the American public by devoting your talents to the 2010 Census. On behalf of the full Census Bureau family, I thank you for your service to the country, and I wish you well in the next steps in your careers. I hope some of the experiences you had during this massive, complicated, messy effort will provide knowledge that makes you a better employee in your next endeavor. Thank you again.

Also, please say a warm and fuzzy goodbye to Obama Administration job creation statistics that were inflated by Census Bureau hires!

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55 Responses to “Census Bureau Director Robert M. Groves says that operations are winding down; Mass #layoffs ahead at the #2010 #Census”

  1. anonymous Says:

    Many crews have sat “idle” for the last week while a couple of crews are finishing up. Like all previous operations, our LCO will close out NRFU when all crews have completed their work.

  2. Anonymous Says:

    My second, realistic comment, is that there are still 3 million households that have not been counted. With the end of operations looming near, this invites fraud on many levels, as individuals will likely be pressured by their higher-ups, all the way through the chain of command back to Census Bureau Headquarters in Suitland, Maryland to get forms completed come hell or high water.

    @SRM – Why do you say that? Smells tin foil hat-ery again…

  3. anonymous Says:

    Anonymous, the Census is not accurate. From the Address Canvassing in Spring, of 2009 to Group Quarters/Transient/Homeless/Soup Kitchens to the present NRFU. THE CENSUS COUNT IS NOT ACCURATE.

  4. nerfoo Says:

    I’m curious… exactly how accurate does anyone expect the census to be? Is anyone realistically expecting an exact, to the person, with no mistakes, enumeration of every single person in the country?

    Or, is there a margin of error, at all, that would be considered acceptable and/or expected?

  5. Job Creation Says:

    Should we have a census every year instead of every 10 years? Create jobs?

  6. Laney Says:

    I sincerely do not understand the tone of this blog. You take simple, straight forward statements and suggest that they are misleading, and then you make broad, general predictions and claim that they are facts.

    Example:

    “Subtly, Dr. Groves also warned of mass layoffs in the coming days.”

    There’s nothing “subtle” about him saying that we’re 93% finished and that we’ll soon be saying goodbye. For God’s sake, he even uses the past tense to refer to their work – “you were among the best…”

    For another example:

    You make a broad assumption that because there are still 3 million households uncounted it will lead to fraud. You base this on nothing and just throw it out as fact, even calling it “realistic”.

    Then you add a quick comment about the $14.5 billion budget. Sure, it’s easy to complain about what appears to be such a large number. But this isn’t $14.5 billion for just this year. It represents 10 years worth of work, which amounts to less than $2 billion/year. While this is more than the 2000 Census, there are reasons for this increase that have been cited by PolitiFact. The population has increased, the cost per household of doing the Census has increased, there are more immigrants (which means greater difficulty in contacting them, need for translators, etc), the resistance to filling out the Census has increased. In addition, adjusting for inflation the 2000 Census budget works out to be about $8 billion, so it’s not as large an increase as everyone loves to claim.

    For more detailed, better information, I would suggest everyone check out PolitiFact:

    http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2010/jun/11/glenn-beck/glenn-beck-takes-shot-census/

  7. Anonymous Says:

    Sorry, I was talking to SRM and the question was how he has come to the conclusion that the last ~1-2% of the census is going to become more prone to “fraud” when he does not provide any evidence to that fact. It’s like me, never visiting a newspaper in my life, saying that a reporter working to a deadline will be more likely to commit fraud in the last hour of typing up the story.

  8. Hey Says:

    Lol – so the site is being censored now?

  9. Hey Says:

    Okay then, if that’s the case. Here’s what I entered around 4:00 this afternoon that was never posted. Maybe it’ll get through with a different username?

    I sincerely do not understand the tone of this blog. You take simple, straight forward statements and suggest that they are misleading, and then you make broad, general predictions and claim that they are facts.

    Example:

    “Subtly, Dr. Groves also warned of mass layoffs in the coming days.”

    There’s nothing “subtle” about him saying that we’re 93% finished and that we’ll soon be saying goodbye. For God’s sake, he even uses the past tense to refer to their work – “you were among the best…”

    For another example:

    You make a broad assumption that because there are still 3 million households uncounted it will lead to fraud. You base this on nothing and just throw it out as fact, even calling it “realistic”.

    Then you add a quick comment about the $14.5 billion budget. Sure, it’s easy to complain about what appears to be such a large number. But this isn’t $14.5 billion for just this year. It represents 10 years worth of work, which amounts to less than $2 billion/year. While this is more than the 2000 Census, there are reasons for this increase that have been cited by PolitiFact. The population has increased, the cost per household of doing the Census has increased, there are more immigrants (which means greater difficulty in contacting them, need for translators, etc), the resistance to filling out the Census has increased. In addition, adjusting for inflation the 2000 Census budget works out to be about $8 billion, so it’s not as large an increase as everyone loves to claim.

    For more detailed, better information, I would suggest everyone check out PolitiFact:

    http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2010/jun/11/glenn-beck/glenn-beck-takes-shot-census/

  10. Maiasaura Says:

    93%? Impossible unless they are counting kick backs as “checked in”

  11. Maiasaura Says:

    ” . . . On behalf of the full Census Bureau family, I thank you for your service to the country, and I wish you well in the next steps in your careers . . . ”

    Pull the other one–it has bells on.

  12. Maiasaura Says:

    Why is the Census Bureau posting “Help Wanted” ads, then? They are on the door at our LCO offering $13.85 an hour to “conduct interviews”.

  13. Anonymous Says:

    “Why is the Census Bureau posting “Help Wanted” ads, then? They are on the door at our LCO offering $13.85 an hour to “conduct interviews”.”

    There are follow on operations that need to be completed after the main count is done.

  14. OurNationHasLostItsWay Says:

    To all People who’ve not worked for the Government! The fraud, waste and abuse in the Bureau and Federal Government is far worse than you could ever imagine. There are pockets of good, honest, hardworking and competent people, but we are the minority of minorities.

  15. anonymous Says:

    All of you are correct. And, yes, our LCO is advertising for Census jobs, too.

  16. JAG Says:

    Here’s another thought….how do you know that the 70% returned by the public are accurate?

  17. An Ominous Says:

    I very sincerely wonder how many of those 47 million NRFU case IDs are for households that mailed in questionnaires long ago that were never counted. Many NRFUs are in fact “RFUs”.

  18. fullofcensus Says:

    we all knew these were temporary jobs, so the fact they are winding down is not a big surprise now is it? but if abuse of the public trust is of interest – poke around and find out why they still have parntership people hanging around? I was told that now they are being kept on board and “trained” to use FactFinder so they could go back out into the Field and train “partners” in the use of FactFinder so they could use Census data? While the USCB may think this is of value – - should this be done using the special stimulus funds set aside to CONDUCT THE CENSUS with partners in neighborhoods? besides, go look at Fact Finder yourself and tell me …does USCB have to spend taxpayers money to teach people to use Fact Finder? talk about fraud

  19. James Says:

    I can’t say enough good about the hard working census employees in our LCO at all levels both in and out of the office. Except for partnership. These are the laziest most embarrassing group of individuals I’ve ever seen. They are truly an embarrassment to the US Census. I can’t speak for other LCOS but people cringe when most of them walk through the office. I have no idea why these people were hired but it certainly wasn’t for any noticeable skill that they have.

  20. fullofcensus Says:

    James: I am so glad you shared your local observation abt partnership… this was this biggest boondoggle during the Census2010 effort I have seen and now when they should be gone …. they are scraping around for make work to keep them on board …. total nonCens … why doesn’t the Inspector General review this near absolute waste of taxpayers money?

  21. True! Says:

    Partnership people are a JOKE! Waste of money and to think they are still hanging around collecting a paycheck is a travesty!

  22. MidwestCL Says:

    An Onimous: some of the NRFU address might well be actual returns that were misprocessed or lost — I have no way of knowing the exact figures on that. In my CLD, a large percentage seemed to be vacant apartments and houses — not surprising, perhaps, given the recent rise in foreclosures and the recession in general (people might be sharing living quarters now more than in the past, to save on costs).

    What exactly is “partnership”? I haven’t heard of this in my area.

  23. knock knock...hello sir is this......GO AWAY! Says:

    so i take it no one else was offered a position for the next phase? i.e the vacancy/deletes operation. i heard there is another one even after the vacancies. i was offered to stay but i dont want to get tricked into a foolish waiting game. anyone else have any info on these future operations?

  24. nerfoo Says:

    My CL told me that he had heard that we’d be getting more info about vacant/delete check in a couple weeks. Said that all of us were being kept on as active until we hear more about it.

  25. anonymiss Says:

    At our meeting this morning (which I think was mostly to keep us active and turning in a payroll sheet since we are done) we were told that we should be getting calls in the next week or so if we are selected for the next phase. Also we may be receiving either an extension of our assignment or a notice that we are released in the mail though that apparently has no bearing on wether we are selected for the next phase. We are a vacation area with a lot of vacants, I think maybe upwards of 70%
    so I suspect that we will need more than an average amount of enumerators but who knows…..will have to wait and see…

  26. anonymous Says:

    Ditto “nerfoo” for my area.

  27. Amanda Says:

    Vacant/Delete Check (VDC) and Field Verification are the last 2 phases. We (the CLs) have been given dates for the CL training and the enumerator training for these phases. In our LCO, VDC training for CLs is 7/16 and for enums 7/22. And again, in our LCO, Field Verification training for CLs is 7/26 thru 7/28 and for enums is 8/4 & 8/5.

  28. enumawa Says:

    I hope I get picked for further ops. However, it will be a tough four weeks without a paycheck. at what point do you file for unemployment?

  29. just an enumerator Says:

    In my LCO, they will close out the NRFU operation. Wait 2 weeks, then start calling CL/CLA, then Enumerators in for training. This has been the same procedure for the past year (every operation).

  30. anonymous Says:

    “poke around and find out why they still have parntership people hanging around? I was told that now they are being kept on board and “trained” to use FactFinder so they could go back out into the Field and train “partners” in the use of FactFinder so they could use Census data? While the USCB may think this is of value – – should this be done using the special stimulus funds set aside to CONDUCT THE CENSUS with partners in neighborhoods?”

    !!! YES, please, MyTwoCensus, investigate this!!!

  31. end the census Says:

    omg no way do I intend to continue working for the census bureau. I’m sick to death of the crap and walking around in this heat is not my idea of a fun job. Got my application in several places for some temp and part time jobs. They’re inside, which means air conditioning.

  32. Ex-IT Says:

    SLATFAF! (soon)

  33. GS-X Says:

    There’s something really sleazy about Partnership.

    http://www.shreveporttimes.com/article/20100605/NEWS01/6050354/School-board-member-updates-census-stats-for-Caddo-officials

  34. Arpad Golgoth Says:

    I got a 95 on the test. The proctor seemed excited by this. They wanted me to be a supervisor. Then they told me I had a criminal record when I do not. They would not tell me what I did, or when or where I did it, just that I had to prove to them that I didn’t do it. Like the guy in the Trial by Kafka. Then I heard about about a class action suit vs. the census bureau by lots of people who had the same thing happen to them. I emailed the law firm that was handling it and sent them all the documentation in support of my story. A barely intelligible black woman called me back and asked me if I was a white man. I said yes. She said I could not be part of the suit because I was a white man and hung up. What happened to this country?

  35. home stretch Says:

    Vacant/Delete operation will be last week of July – 1 to 2 days of training followed by 1 to 2 days of actual work.

    Follow-up Verification operation will be first week of August – 1 to 2 days of training followed by 1 to 2 days of actual work.

  36. 'nuff already Says:

    I had an email today from one of our CLAs who’s looking to come pick up my bag and badge…I only worked the first two weeks of May and just got the check last for training and the first week, last week! The unemployment numbers are already up. This has been nothing but a smoke and mirrors operation!

  37. Finally! Says:

    ’nuff already, you are right. “Smoke and mirrors” … the last 2 operations are only for a couple of days … census workers are lucky if they get 25 hours (including training) for each operation!

  38. nerfoo Says:

    And, where are the smoke and mirrors? Is there anyone saying that these are permanent positions or that these temp positions are anything but temp good fortune for people who might be happy to have some work right now?

  39. the end Says:

    Smoke and mirrors explained: The census officials should have told the temporary workers thay would only work about 15 hours per week for a couple of weeks. For the other operations, they would work 3 days (including training) at about 5 hours/day. Many office clerks were pulled in for only 1 day and not called back again. TRANSPARENCY – just be honest with the workers.

  40. the end Says:

    Have you read CNN Money online article regarding the unemployed. Employers do not want to hire unemployed people. They prefer to hire those who are working.

  41. nerfoo Says:

    It was made pretty clear to me that this was going to be a temp job with unpredictable hours when I was hired on. Was anyone going into this thinking it was a permanent job? Seems like a bit of wishful thinking, if they were. It’s the census. It only happens once every 10 years. And, the job we were hired on to do as enumerators (or LCO office staff, etc) was clearly discussed in the media and in any Census literature that I saw when applying, as a temporary push to complete a decennial job.

  42. nerfoo Says:

    Got my call re: vacant/delete earlier today. It was just a heads up from my CL – not a job offer yet, not anything definite regarding place/time for training. He said they’d be calling back about half of the CL’s & FOS’s and about 2/3 of the enumerators, when they did call. He said that it hadn’t been decided yet who was being called back, but he just wanted to let us know what he had heard as a possible timeframe for our area. As of now, they’re thinking about July 2 as a training day, with July 3 as work start day.

    I’m hoping they offer an alternate training day, as I already have plans for that day & would really like the extra week or so of work…

  43. CLA Dave Says:

    re: “1 to 2 days of training followed by 1 to 2 days of actual work”

    And the trainers will have received 1 to 2 days of training before that. :)

    As a citizen I hate to see the money thrown away, but work is so hard to find around here that I’m grateful for whatever gets thrown at me.

  44. Jax Enumerator Says:

    “I’m hoping they offer an alternate training day, as I already have plans for that day & would really like the extra week or so of work…”

    I’d imagine it will take longer than that, but I guess it depends on your area. In my CLD, we were doing NRFU until June 6 and we had about 30% vacant units. I’m just not sure exactly what we have to do to confirm the vacant units and a lot of how long it will last depends on that.

  45. anonymous Says:

    I just got a call from HR/Training for the Vacant/Delete operation – even if it’s for a few days, I accept the job! :)

  46. annonnnnnnnymouse Says:

    I hope I get called.

  47. Watermelon Says:

    Don’t worry, we’ll get called in.

  48. MidwestCL Says:

    We were called on Thursday and told we were “selected” by the FOS to work in the last phase. I’m a CL and will work as an enumerator in this phase. I guess I’ll take it, regardless, as it’s work. The odd thing is, two days before the training was scheduled my FOS called asking who in my NRFU crew could work 40 hours a week in the next operation because they only wanted those people. I said everyone could because I’m sure it’ll never be 40 hours. So far, nothing has been. I can say this is the most mismanaged operation I’ve ever seen in my entire life. I imagine that is because everyone is new, everyone is temporary and everyone is looking out for themselves, trying to prolong a paycheck as long as possible. The woman who called me from the LCO to tell me my training day (9-4:30 on one day only) said that it would be very short lived: 1-2 weeks at most. I translate that to mean 1-2 days. People are sick of having Census workers come to their homes. Last week we had to revisit a couple dozen homes because the EQs weren’t checked in. It was awful. Even the nice guys have had enough of us. I am so curious how this last phase will be handled.

  49. Anonymous Says:

    First: training and operation dates vary from LCO to LCO, so this is not how to find out when training will be for the next operation(s). Second: the operations proceeding NRFU were pretty clearly outlined in the CB press conference, which you can read on this very Web site (http://www.mytwocensus.com/2010/04/30/transcript-from-census-bureau-press-conference/). Third: What I have observed working for the CB is serious local mismanagement and a questionable electronic system. Census data is actually pretty simple compared to information captured and tracked by the IRS, for example, and they should not have the system problems that they do. Finally) It is somewhat frustrating that this site has devolved into people bitching about their individual experiences (it’s hot outside–no really?). There should be some organized effort to bring to the attention of legislators and public leaders the serious operational and political flaws in the Census. (And the guy who was told he has a criminal record should find a lawyer, before it comes back to haunt him again.)

  50. annonnnnnnnymouse Says:

    I’m getting a bit antsy. Hoping that soon, I get either the call to come turn in all of my stuff or a call for being “selected.”

  51. etu1972 Says:

    Got the call for phase 2 last week. The one day training will be on July 1st. No time estimate past that yet.

  52. antsy Says:

    I am praying to get the call today. I just want to know either way. I hate this waiting around.

  53. anonymous Says:

    Antsy and company, just call your LCO … go ahead and good luck! :)

  54. What sort of person do you have to be to work for IRS or CB? Says:

    When do the door-to-door surveys end? Last day of June?

  55. Jack Says:

    Where are you all from. Here in MA, I have was verbally told that I would move on to the next phase and yesterday I was told there was no guarentee desite the fact I was ranked #1 in my area. There is no notice as to when they will notify or when the op will begin.