Thursday, June 3, 2010

Job Figures To Spike For May Thanks To Census Hirings. Not Quite What It Seems

The Hill:

Hiring by the U.S. Census Bureau is expected to spike May’s job figures dramatically.

Economist Mark Zandi of Moody’s.com projects the economy will have added 575,000 jobs in May, while the Economic Policy Institute’s (EPI) rough projection is for 560,000 jobs.

Either figure would represent the largest number of jobs created in any month since the dot-com crash of 2000.

Vice President Joe Biden, speaking at a Democratic fundraiser on Tuesday, touted what he said would be a positive report for Democrats, who are hoping a revitalized economy will help them in this fall’s elections. He said the May report would be “well beyond” the 290,000 jobs created in April, according to Reuters.

The numbers pose a problem for the administration, however, in terms of their reflection of economic growth.

Zandi expects that only 150,000 of the jobs created in May will come from the private sector, with 425,000 new jobs sparked by the once-a-decade Census.

Those jobs are temporary ones that will disappear as the Census completes the process of collecting data from people who did not mail in their forms.

In fact, hiring for the Census probably peaked in the first week of May, when 585,729 temporary workers were on the Census payroll, according to the agency’s figures.

The number of temporary workers had dropped to 572,779 the second week of May, and it is expected to drop further in coming weeks.

“I do think that we have peaked,” said Shelly Lowe, a public affairs official with the Census. “I do not expect it to go back up.”

Continue reading here. As this story details, even the Census hiring isn’t quite what it seems. With a failed stimulus and regulatory and legislative uncertainty crippling the economy’s growth prospects, expect more shell games with future jobs’ reports.

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