Census workers running into danger on the job

The U.S. Census Bureau is having a difficult time lately, what with a worker having a gun aimed at her on the job and charges that it is fudging employment numbers it reports to the Labor Department.

You'd expect to run into some difficulties when going to someone's door and asking personal information -- age, race, number of people living there -- although federal law mandates that the information won't be shared with anyone or any agency and is only used to compile numbers. But having a gun aimed at you, as a woman did while asking census questions, makes the $12 to $25 an hour pay really not worth it. The homeowner with the gun was shot and killed by police after refusing to drop the gun and continuing to keep it pointed at police.

A Hawaii worker was arrested for trespassing, and one worker was worried she was going to be hit by a man she was questioning. It makes you think twice about applying for a job that sounds simple enough and provides the opportunity to walk outdoors and meet people.

The Census Bureau is also being accused of strange hiring practices, which sound like it's trying to pump up hiring numbers that it reports. Jobs are being recycled.

The New York Post reports that each month the Census gives the Labor Department a figure on the number of workers it has hired, which goes into the monthly report that the Labor Department provides. The figures include Census workers who have been fired after a few days or a few hours, only to be hired again weeks later. The Labor Department doesn't check if the Census' hiring numbers are new jobs or recycled. A job is created is someone is hired to work at least one hour per month.

If national unemployment figures drop, now we know why.
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