March 12, 2010 | The Dallas Morning News | Original Article

Census recruiting workers in Dallas area

The U.S. Census Bureau is looking for more than a few good men and women to fan across North Texas and help encourage residents to return their 2010 census questionnaires.

The jobs are temporary but pay well – up to $17.50 an hour – and the hours are flexible. Despite the sour economy and high unemployment, census leaders are struggling to fill all the slots in Dallas-Fort Worth and across the country.

Census officials plan to hire several thousand workers in North Texas, joining more than 1 million workers nationwide. There are eight offices across North Texas, and each will employ about 2,000 people.

"We're still recruiting," said Joy Donovan Brandon, a Dallas Regional Census Center spokeswoman. "It's a challenge to find all the people we need."

Applicants take a 30-minute exam that covers a variety of topics, including clerical skills, math and reading. Testing is under way.

Job seekers are sparse in affluent areas of Dallas and other cities, census officials say. In addition, the Census Bureau has struggled to find temporary workers in West Texas oil towns, where unemployment is low.

In North Texas, census officials have been working with a variety of groups to try to attract prospective workers.

Many temporary census employees will start working in May, visiting homes that haven't returned their questionnaires, which are arriving in the mail this month. Other employees will work as supervisors or clerks.

The census jobs typically require 20 to 40 hours of work each week, and workers get reimbursed for mileage.