We all knew it was coming: that big Census employment bubble that was inflated by 411,000 new jobs and sent the unemployment rate down to 9.7 from 9.9 was only temporary. It reached its peak in early May, when a whopping 585,729 people were employed by the Census Bureau. By mid-June, that number had dropped to 330,737. You can keep track of the layoffs city by city at the Census Bureau website.
This could have a huge impact on the entire nation, let alone the 254,992 people who are now jobless again, after working only a few months ... or a few weeks. "A couple week's work--that's about all I got," says "Colleen," a temporary hire who scored well on the Census Bureau's test and spent the last two months waiting to be called in for service. She was recently told she would no longer be needed by the Census Bureau, but didn't want to give her real name for fear that potential employers might perceive her as a complainer.
These layoffs will doubtless have a big effect on next week's June employment report, which will be released Friday. The previous month's report always comes out on the first Friday of the proceeding month. A preliminary Reuters poll found that economists are expecting an overall June payroll decline of 70,000 jobs, even though they expect the private sector to add 113,000 positions.
Census jobs count in the government sector, which is factored separately from the private sector. But those same economic experts predicted a Census drop of about 180,000 jobs in June, which is well short of the actual 254,992, whose numbers were, released after the economists made their predictions.
Which makes one wonder what do the experts actually know? Last month, economists predicted the private sector would add more than double the 41,000 jobs that actually came into being. They were surprised by the weakness and sluggishness of the supposed recovery.
"I'd still rather hear overly positive predictions than overly negative ones," says Colleen, who has added Census Bureau work to her résumé and has renewed her job search. "I'm hoping the people who do the hiring will see my Census Bureau experience and realize that I'm very motivated and skilled enough to land even a temporary job in this highly competitive environment." They should also appreciate her ability to make lemonade out of lemons.