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A day in the life of a census-taker

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Steve Chiotakis: Economists expect this morning’s employment report will show around 200,000 new jobs were added in April. Keep in mind, more than half are census jobs that’ll go away by mid-summer. All told, the government has hired more than half a million census-takers to go door-to-door. The jobs — which can be part or full-time — pay around $15 an hour. And they’re not just for people who have been unemployed. Many already have day jobs. From Portland, Ore,, we have this snapshot of one store owner who’s juggling census-taking and working behind the cash register.


Reese Prouty: My name is Reese Prouty, and my business is called Eight Women. It’s a gift lingerie shop.

Being my own boss, I get to make my own hours. So if something that’s going to pay me more is going on, I have a permanent note for the door that says, “Sorry if I missed you, but I’ve got a paying job today.”

For the census, those people who did not send in their form are now going to see many of us coming and knocking on the doors. And for me, it’s fairly easy to stick it in with running my shop. We are to leave a Notice of Visit which tells them a number where they can reach us.

The other day, I actually had somebody call while I was in the middle of a sale. And the woman was quite OK with hanging out. Because once I have them on the phone, I don’t want to let them go.

Chiotakis: Mitchell Hartman, by the way, put that audio postcard together for us.

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