Friday, July 30, 2010

Estimate of July Decennial Census impact on payroll employment: minus 144,000

by Bill McBride on 7/30/2010 08:20:00 PM

The Census Bureau released the weekly payroll data for the week ending July 17th this week (ht Bob_in_MA). If we subtract the number of temporary 2010 Census workers in the week containing the 12th of the month, from the same week for the previous month - this provides a close estimate for the impact of the Census hiring on payroll employment.

The Census Bureau releases the actual number with the employment report.

Census workers per week Click on graph for larger image in new window.

This graph shows the number of Census workers paid each week. The red labels are the weeks of the BLS payroll survey.

The Census payroll decreased from 344,157 for the week ending June 12th to 200,346 for the week ending July 17th.

So my estimate for the impact of the Census on July payroll employment is minus 144 thousand (this will probably be close). The employment report will be released on August 6th, and the headline number for July - including Census numbers - will probably be negative again. But a key number will be the hiring ex-Census (so we will add back the Census workers again this month).

The following table compares the weekly payroll report estimate to the monthly BLS report on Census hiring (the weekly report is revised slightly, so the correlation looks better than in real time):

 Weekly Pay PeriodChange (based on weekly report)Monthly BLSChange (monthly)
Jan25 24 
Feb41163915
Mar96558748
Apr1566115467
May574418564410
Jun344-230339-225
Jul200-144  
All thousands

There will be one more large decline in temporary Census workers in August, and then most of the remaining workers will be let go over the next several months. I'll have more on July employment this Sunday in the weekly "Look ahead".