Friday, August 27, 2010

Estimate of Decennial Census impact on August payroll employment: minus 116,000

by Bill McBride on 8/27/2010 12:49:00 PM

The Census Bureau released the weekly payroll data for the week ending August 14th 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 200,346 for the week ending July 17th to 83,955 for the week ending August 14th.

So my estimate for the impact of the Census on August payroll employment is minus 116 thousand (this will probably be close). The employment report will be released on September 3rd, and the headline number for August - 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):

Payroll, Weekly Pay PeriodPayroll, Monthly BLSChange based on weekly reportActual Change (monthly)
Jan2524  
Feb41391615
Mar96875548
Apr1561546167
May574564418410
Jun344339-230-225
Jul200196-144-143
Aug84 -116
All thousands
This is the last large monthly decline in temporary Census workers; most of the remaining workers will be let go over the next several months. I'll have more on August employment this Sunday in the weekly schedule.

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