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.

Posts Tagged ‘New York Post’

With latest jobs report, the Census Bureau’s failures to report training hours and part-time jobs come to light

Tuesday, June 8th, 2010

For most of you, this is old news by now, but I hesitated to report it because it would probably just make you more angry. It recently came out that most of America’s new jobs are temporary Census Bureau positions that will soon end, which is dismal news for the economy. As MyTwoCensus.com observed, some people on the right are outraged by what they report as false job statistics since Census Bureau employees have been hired and let go (for various reasons) and then re-hired to work for other 2010 Census operations down the road.

FoxNews published reports from Commerce Department and Bureau of Labor Statistics spokespersons:

Commerce Department spokesman Nick Kimball:

“The Census Bureau — like all other employers — reports the number of individuals on its payroll for the specific week the Labor Department uses as a point of reference for measuring the nation’s level of This is not a tally of positions filled during the past month — instead, it is the number of actual individual human beings who received paychecks that week. That number can then be compared to the reports from previous months to understand the changing jobs environment over time.”

Bureau of Labor Statistics spokeswoman Stacey Standish:

“Each month the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) Current Employment Statistics (CES) program publishes the employment levels for total nonfarm and component industries. Establishments, including the Census Bureau, are asked to report the total number of workers on their payroll. That is, the establishment is asked to report the total number of employees who worked or received pay for the pay period that includes the 12th of the month. The CES program does not ask establishments to report the number of new hires or created, or the number of persons who were laid off.”

Shelly Lowe of the Census Bureau’s public information office commented on a MyTwoCensus post:

First, the Census Bureau does not hire, then fire, and then rehire anyone. Any employee who is fired is fired for cause. We train and hire temporary workers for various operations, most significantly Non-Response Follow-Up (NRFU) to complete work assignments. When the work is complete, the temporary worker goes into an inactive status. They may be re-activated if there is more work to do, or for another subsequent operation. At no time do we count a re-activation from non-working status as a ?rehire.?

The article goes on to state: “Labor doesn’t check the Census hiring figure or whether the jobs are actually new or recycled. It considers a new job to have been created if someone is hired to work at least one hour a month.

This is simply inaccurate. The Census Bureau reports to the Department of Labor and on our public website the number of people paid for work during a given week. We do not report the number of jobs. The Census Bureau reports the total number of unduplicated temporary 2010 workers that earned any pay during a specific weekly pay period. Temporary workers earning any pay during the week are counted only once. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) measures changes in employment levels — not the actual level itself — and looks only at the week which includes the 12th day of the month. It is simply not possible for Census to engage in the manipulation of data to artificially inflate the employment report of the BLS in the manner alleged by this news column.

So now we see that the number of people on the payroll each week is the number of people who are reported to the government. However, as we know from previous posts and reports by the Commerce Department Inspector General and Government Accountability Office, there are tons and tons of Census Bureau employees who are “trained” each week but never actually work. Furthermore, there are thousands of Census Bureau employees who are only working part-time. Many workers have twenty hours to work per week, tops. These  figures are not accounted for in the Census Bureau’s tally, which are further compounded by the Census Bureau’s frequent IT malfunctions making it such that Census Bureau employees who are on the clock are merely sitting around and waiting for assignments to come through.

NY Post’s John Crudele continues war on 2010 Census hiring/firing practices

Tuesday, June 1st, 2010

Last week, we posted that John Crudele of the New York Post has been fighting the Census Bureau over allegations that the Bureau is inflating national hiring rates because workers have been hired and fired for different stages of the 2010 Census. The Census Bureau’s spokesperson Shelly Lowe, has explicitly denied these claims in the comments sections of Crudele’s page and MyTwoCensus.com. But Mr. Crudele feels that his fight is worthy and just, so he has taken it a step further today by posting nondescript stories of people who have contacted him because they have been hired/fired multiple times (full article HERE). MyTwoCensus, at this time, feels that the Census Bureau would not explicitly lie about how they report new hires/terminated workers to the federal government but here are some case studies anyway:

* I was hired four times, counting last year and this. There’s lots of waste and poor management. I’ve wondered about the handheld computer (used by door-to-door workers.) I’ve no idea how many of these were purchased. They were only used last year in one effort and my understanding is there were a lot of problems.

* I’m in south Orange County in Southern California and I’m going door-to-door to people the Census says have not turned in their form. At least 60 percent of the people I speak to swear they’ve turned it in. We are supposed to visit a residence three times. (If we can’t contact anyone) we are supposed to try up to three proxies (neighbors or other people) to get information on a particular resident. So basically your neighbor can report how many people live in your home.

* Everything you reported is absolutely true. I was fired three times and rehired. I earned more going to training classes than (working). Several classmates didn’t get any work after completing training.

* I was hired by the Census on March 16 and my last day was April 19 at the bilingual question answering center in Rome, Ga. We had two days of training, of which one was just to get hired officially as a federal employee. I had a total of two people come by my location and ask a question — costing taxpayers $250 per question.

* I am a Census worker. I, too, can confirm that they are checking and checking. I checked homes that have already been checked by the “enumerators.” The next phase is to go and re-check the checks that we already did twice..

* It’s not much better in Florida. Our first day of training was a total joke. The supposed crew leader knew nothing. She didn’t even open the manual to prep herself. We spent four hours signing six pieces of paper, one of which we signed on the day of the initial test ing. The nightmare didn’t end when we got to the field. No work was available so we would sit in a meeting waiting for work for hours, which went on our timesheet.

New York Post: Census Bureau’s hiring and re-hiring and re-re-hiring inflates US job statistics

Tuesday, May 25th, 2010

Unemployment figures are likely higher than the government claims, simply because so many Census Bureau employees have been hired, fired, re-hired, re-fired, etc, etc etc for each Census Bureau operation. Here’s the full story from John Crudele at the NYP:

You know the old saying: “Everyone loves a charade.” Well, it seems that the Census Bureau may be playing games.

Last week, one of the millions of workers hired by Census 2010 to parade around the country counting Americans blew the whistle on some statistical tricks.

The worker, Naomi Cohn, told The Post that she was hired and fired a number of times by Census. Each time she was hired back, it seems, Census was able to report the creation of a new job to the Labor Department.

Below, I have a couple more readers who worked for Census 2010 and have tales to tell.

But first, this much we know.

Each month Census gives Labor a figure on the number of workers it has hired. That figure goes into the closely followed monthly employment report Labor provides. For the past two months the hiring by Census has made up a good portion of the new jobs.

Labor doesn’t check the Census hiring figure or whether the jobs are actually new or recycled. It considers a new job to have been created if someone is hired to work at least one hour a month.

One hour! A month! So, if a worker is terminated after only one hour and another is hired in her place, then a second new job can apparently be reported to Labor . (I’ve been unable to get Census to explain this to me.)

Here’s a note from a Census worker — this one from Manhattan:

“John: I am on my fourth rehire with the 2010 Census.

“I have been hired, trained for a week, given a few hours of work, then laid off. So my unemployed self now counts for four new jobs.

“I have been paid more to train all four times than I have been paid to actually produce results. These are my tax dollars and your tax dollars at work.

“A few months ago I was trained for three days and offered five hours of work counting the homeless. Now, I am knocking (on) doors trying to find the people that have not returned their Census forms. I worked the 2000 Census. It was a far more organized venture.

“Have to run and meet my crew leader, even though with this rain I did not work today. So I can put in a pay sheet for the hour or hour and a half this meeting will take. Sincerely, C.M.

And here’s another:

“John: I worked for (Census) and I was paid $18.75 (an hour) just like Ms. Naomi Cohn from your article.

“I worked for about six weeks or so and I picked the hours I wanted to work. I was checking the work of others. While I was classifying addresses, another junior supervisor was checking my work.

“In short, we had a “checkers checking checkers” quality control. I was eventually let go and was told all the work was finished when, in fact, other people were being trained for the same assignment(s).

“I was re-hired about eight months later and was informed that I would have to go through one week of additional training.

The American Community Survey…”Too Nosey”

Wednesday, May 27th, 2009

Yesterday, young neo-con Meghan Clyne wrote a column in The New York Post bashing The American Community Survey that is delivered to 1 in 40 American households:

UNCLE SAM’S WAY-TOO-NOSY SURVEY

WHERE’S the outrage?

With all the recent ob sessing over the “rights” of terrorists in Guantanamo, and the idea that President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee should support “the constitutional right to privacy,” you’d expect the civil-liberties crowd to be inflamed by the federal government forcing Americans to disclose sensitive information about their finances, health and lifestyles.

You would be wrong.

Recently nearly 3 million Americans were sent the American Community Survey. An annual supplement to the decennial Census, the 28-page survey pursues obnoxious nanny-state details such as whether your home has a flush toilet, what kind of fuel you use for heat and how much you spend on everything from electricity and flood insurance to your mortgage and property taxes.

Then come the really nosy questions, ranging from your college major and your health insurance to how you spend each day at the office. The survey even asks what time you leave for work, down to the hour and minute.

It also asks whether, “because of a physical, mental or emotional condition,” you have difficulty “concentrating, remembering or making decisions,” “walking or climbing stairs,” “doing errands alone such as visiting a doctor’s office or shopping” or “dressing or bathing.”

So much for keeping government out of the bedroom. The survey also demands your current marital status; whether you’ve been married, widowed or divorced in the last 12 months, and how many times you’ve been married. If you’re a woman between the ages of 15 and 50, you must also answer whether you’ve given birth in the last 12 months. The Census Bureau says this “measure of fertility” is used to “carry out various programs required by statute, including . . . conducting research for voluntary family planning programs.” What was that about a “woman’s right to privacy”?

It’s tempting to toss the survey in the circular file, but recipients are required by law to respond. According to the Census Web site, the fine for nonparticipation can be as much as $5,000, and filing false information can pack a $500 punch.

Why all this intrusion? The Constitution allows for the “enumeration” of Americans for the purposes of taxation and apportioning political representation — but this survey isn’t part of the head-counting. The information is used by the government to spread around your tax dollars and justify federal bureaucracies; it can also be distributed to private businesses.

The feds say the data will stay secure, but after recent episodes in which personal records were compromised by the State and Veterans Affairs departments, some skepticism is understandable.

Jim Harper, a privacy expert at the Cato Institute, calls the survey “a classic example of mission creep over the decades — this constitutional need to literally count how many noses are in the United States has turned into a vast data-collection operation.” Toss in the push for the 2010 Census to be run out of the White House, and it adds up to a real intrusion into private lives, with the goal of further expanding government’s reach.

There is spirited opposition to the survey, ranging from libertarian bloggers to Rep. Ron Paul, who has called it “insulting.” Yet civil-liberties groups are strangely quiet.

NARAL didn’t respond to a request for comment and an American Civil Liberties Union spokeswoman said last week that she “couldn’t find anyone to talk.” But an organization fact sheet says the survey is not unconstitutional, adding that the Census “serves a vital role in our democracy . . . it determines apportionment for voting, as well as helps allocate other government benefits such as anti-poverty programs.”

So, we shouldn’t listen in on terrorists to save American lives — but intrusions into your privacy to support causes the left likes are just fine.

The good news is that I called the help number on my form and a Census representative finally conceded that the government was unlikely to pursue punishment if I didn’t respond, saying it would be “a waste of time and money.”

Maybe that’s enough to risk telling the government what to do with its survey. But if you do end up facing a harassing Census-taker — well, don’t count on the civil-liberties crowd for help.