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 center jobs winding down…

The Census Bureau has three processing centers across the nation that handle all 2010 Census forms. They are located in Indiana, Arizona, and Maryland. Here’s a report from the Courier-Journal that discusses the status of operations in Indiana:

By Lesley Stedman Weidenbener

INDIANAPOLIS – The U.S. Census Bureau’s National Processing Center in Jeffersonville will eliminate its night shift on Friday as it winds down its work on the 2010 Census.

That will leave the local center with about 3,000 employees – down from a peak of about 5,000 this spring, said director David Hackbarth.

In May, the center started laying off temporary employees who had been hired for about $13 an hour to process roughly 40 million Census forms received at the Jeffersonville location, one of three processing centers in the country. That represents roughly 20 percent of the Census forms returned nationally.

“The work load is now significantly lower than it was at its peak,” Hackbarth said.

Additional layoffs will continue through the fall of 2011.

“Even though the Census is winding down, there will be Census work through 2011,” Hackbarth said. “Our employment will depend on the magnitude of the work.”

Most of the employees who were hired as temporary workers for the Census knew their jobs would be ending in late summer, Hackbarth said. Still, they’re all receiving two weeks notice of their final days, he said.

Some employees have left for new jobs immediately upon learning their layoff date. Others will stay to their last day, he said. They are working on the last Census forms and cleaning up data.

“One of our concerns is trying to help people find their next job,” Hackbarth said. “And that’s part of the reason for a two-week notice. It gives them time to react and we think that’s the appropriate thing to do.”

Leading up the layoffs, Clark and Floyd counties have had unemployment rates that have been lower than the state average.

Base staffing for the Jeffersonville center is about 1,600 employees. Hackbarth said employment levels will fluctuate significantly throughout the decade as the center handles other projects and surveys that the Census Bureau conducts between the decennial counts.

“Many of the employees – whether they’re temporary or term employees – have worked here before and will work here again,” Hackbarth said.

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