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The Census Bureau is looking to fill 500,000 positions across the country

WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — The U.S. Census Bureau needs to hire 500,000 people for jobs across the country to ensure the 2020 population count is carried out accurately and on time.

Dale Kelly, the chief of the field division with the Census Bureau, said the positions include census takers, supervisors and office positions.

“For our census takers, their task is really to go door-to-door for people who don’t self respond,” said Kelly.

The Census Bureau is opening 248 satellite offices around the country and some of the new hires will need special skillsets.

“It’s important that we hire people who will work in those communities because they know their neighbors, they speak that language they are that local voice,” Kelly said.

But hiring hundreds of thousands of workers in just a few months is proving to be a serious challenge, in part because of the low unemployment rate.

The bureau said it’s recruiting people who are already employed and want a second job. They’re also looking at students and retirees looking for extra income.

U.S. Census Bureau workers. (NEXSTAR)

Kelly said the positions are more than just jobs: they’re critical to the partnership between local communities and the federal government.

“It determines the flow of federal funding — approximately $675 billion a year that flows to communities,” he said.

That money goes toward projects like improving local schools, roads and hospitals.

The census results also determine how congressional seats are divided between the states.

The census count starts in April. The recruiting is underway now.

Fernando Armstrong, a regional director for the U.S. Census Bureau, said they are experiencing fewer applications for the jobs than in the past. He points to the country’s low unemployment rate. The latest statistics show it as 3.6%, compared to nearly 10% when the last census took place in 2019.

In response, the Census Bureau is increasing the hourly pay in more than half the country.

In Virginia, the pay rates ranges from $15 up to $25.50 depending on the location.

There is currently no deadline to apply.

If you are interested, you can apply at this link.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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