Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Estimate of Decennial Census impact on September payroll employment: minus 78,000

by Bill McBride on 9/29/2010 10:02:00 AM

The Census Bureau released the weekly payroll data for the week ending September 18th today (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 83,955 for the week ending August 14th to 6,038 for the week ending September 18th.

So my estimate for the impact of the Census on September payroll employment is minus 78 thousand (this will probably be close). The employment report will be released on October 8th, and the headline number for September - including Census numbers - will probably be close to zero. 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 - this shows the estimate is usually very close:

Payroll, Weekly Pay PeriodPayroll, Monthly BLSChange based on weekly reportActual Change (monthly)
Jan2524
Feb41391615
Mar96875548
Apr1561546167
May574564418410
Jun344339-230-225
Jul200196-144-143
Aug8482-116-114
Sep6-78
All thousands

There are very few temporary decennial workers left on the payroll, and this month marks the end of the weekly payroll report from the Census Bureau: "These data will continue through the end of September with the last release of data being the week of Sept. 26-Oct. 2."

I'll have more on the September employment report (due Oct 8th) this Sunday in the weekly schedule.