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U.S. Jobs Report May See Boost From Temporary Hiring for Census

(Bloomberg) -- Temporary federal government hiring for the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2020 count may give nonfarm payrolls a boost starting with the April jobs report due Friday, economists say.

Census has began recruiting and hiring some of the hundreds of thousands of temporary workers needed for the decennial tally. The bureau said in early March that more than 170,000 recruits had applied for temporary jobs and more than 800 hired.

U.S. Jobs Report May See Boost From Temporary Hiring for Census

Morgan Stanley economists led by Ellen Zentner turned back the clock a decade to cite the April 2009 jobs report, which showed federal employment rose mainly due to the hiring of temporary workers for the 2010 census.

“We expect some boost to the payrolls print this month from this temporary hiring,” they wrote in a report Thursday, adding that the timing may be different this year and delay the boost from temporary staff.

The median estimate of economists is for an April payroll increase of 190,000.

The biggest payrolls boost will be next year, if history is any guide. The April 2010 payrolls report reflected hiring of 66,000 temporary census workers. That category then jumped by 411,000 in May of that year before dropping by 225,000 in June, according to the reports at the time.

Jim O’Sullivan of High Frequency Economics projects a 20,000 boost to federal hiring in April. “In an event, census hiring should be excluded from calculations for analysis of underlying trends,” he wrote in a note Thursday.

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